The 5 x 7ft (1.52 x 2.13m) oil on canvas was completed in 1950 during the Arts Council’s drive to have artists produce large-scale, heroic works for the Festival of Britain year (1951). Enormous canvases, paints and materials were distributed to artists for free, with the stipulation that works would be a minimum of 3ft 9in x 5ft (1.14 x 1.52m).
The resulting work by Vaughan depicts the minotaur as the troubled youth of André Gide’s 1946 novel, rather than a horned monster. He is seen reclining, as Theseus stands behind him and Ariadne sits to the left.
Vaughan later said that the painting was mistitled, referring to Minos as the island of the myth rather than the king.
It was exhibited first in the Lefevre Gallery in 1950 and recently (2010-13) was on show at Tate Britain on three-year loan.
Now it is included in the Mayfair gallery’s annual Modern British art show, running from May 8-31. Among the 30 or so works, offered for prices starting at £20,000, are a painting by David Bomberg (1890-1957) of the Spanish town Ronda, a classic 1963 painting by Paul Feiler (1918-2013) and a rare Christopher Wood (1901-30) harbour scene.
Many of the works will also be at Masterpiece (June 27-July 3).