Bones of Time

Mosley, Ryan
Ryan Mosley’s paintings are often populated by carnivalesque characters, including bearded figures in top hats, acrobats and dancers, and feature harlequin prints, rampant foliage and unruly limbs. The artist describes his approach as ‘instinctive’. Rather than making studies for his paintings, he works directly onto the canvas, and incorporates any ‘mistakes’ into the finished piece. The portrait James (2016) – which features a young man in profile – is unusual for Mosley in that it was made using preparatory sketches and drawings. It also marks a return to ‘more conventional portraits.’ Bones of Time (2013), one of Mosley’s earlier paintings, evolved from several series of portraits which, in the artist’s words, ‘attempted to navigate around portraiture’. In this uncanny image, the shape of a sand timer is created by two silhouetted faces in profile. As Mosley explains, it is ‘a portrait of life itself, life, death and everything in between’.
  • Artwork Details: Framed size: 102.3 x 82.8 x 5.5cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: Oil on linen
  • Credit line: © the artist
  • Theme:
  • Medium: Painting
  • Accession number: ACC7/2016



The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.