56 Group Wales:The Founders

Michael Edmonds (1926 - 2014)


Trevor Bates

Michael Edmonds was born in Bere Regis, Dorset on 9 April 1926 and is the nephew of the portrait painter Algernon Rowe. He grew up in the Dorset countryside amidst a landscape that became an inspiration to him.

From 1944 until 1947 he worked in the coalmines as a 'Bevin Boy' at the Bedwas Colliery, South Wales and then went on to study architecture in Bristol. In 1951 he attended Cardiff College of Art, where he was taught life drawing by Eric Malthouse (who with Edmonds was to become one of the founder members of the 56 Group).

Although Michael Edmonds was to meet Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, it cannot be said that they had any great influence on his work. His fascination is with a variety of complex subject matter, often combining classical themes with modern day technology.

Michael Edmonds, together with Eric Malthouse and David Tinker, was the genesis of the 56 Group. Had the trio not met at Edmonds' house in 1956 to form the group, then it probably would not have happened. Although his profession as an architect took Michael Edmonds away from Wales at an early stage in the group's history, he remained an associate member until 1965 and it is largely due to him that the group exists today. He died 30th March 2014

Michael Edmonds' works can be found in the following collections:-

Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; Brecknock County Museum and Art Gallery, Brecon; British Coal; British Gas; Contemporary Art Society for Wales; Glamorgan Education Committee; Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art; Pembroke College, Oxford; University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd; private collections in Europe, Australia and America.