Michael Ayrton
1921 - 1975

Michael Ayrton was a man of exceptionally wide talents: artist, printmaker, portraitist, stage designer, musicologist, author, critic, and sculptor. By 1951 when he moved to Toppesfield he had a national reputation. After visiting Crete in 1956 Ayrton became fascinated with the myth surrounding Daedalus, who built a labyrinth to house the Minotaur and was himself imprisoned in it with Icarus. In the labyrinth he made wings and they both became the first men to fly. Icarus flew so near the sun that it melted the wax of his wings. A bronze of Icarus , Sun Maze, is the only sculpture in the North West Essex Collection, aptly reflects this interest. Ayrton is buried in Hadstock Churchyard (five miles away) with another example of his work -a bronze maze - as his headstone.