Thursday, 27 June 2013

Eric Ravilious – part 1


Eric Ravilious in 1939 photo by Serge Chermayeff
This is another revised and updated post on artists I have previously featured. This replaces an earlier post from April 2010 on Eric Ravilious.

Eric Ravilious (1903 – 1942) was an English painter, wood-engraver and designer. He was educated at Eastbourne School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art (1922–5), where he was taught by Paul Nash and became close friends with Edward Bawden. His early works included the refectory mural (destr. 1940) in Morley College, London, and wood engravings in the tradition of Bewick for the Golden Cockerel, Curwen and Nonesuch presses.

In the 1930s he began painting larger compositions in a wider range of colour, and this led him to use lithography. Ravilious also produced designs for Wedgwood, including the celebration mug (1936) for the coronation of King Edward VIII, which was withdrawn and revised for the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II; the Alphabet mug (1937); the Afternoon Tea (1937), Travel (1938) and Garden Implements (1939) china sets; and the Boat Race Day cup (1938). He also designed glass for Stuart Crystal (1934), furniture for Dunbar Hay (1936) and graphic work for advertisements for London Transport and others.
Despite his success as a designer, Ravilious concentrated increasingly on watercolours. His landscapes and rural interiors often featured the downland and coast of southern England; haunting and lyrical, these works show a world in suspense and often feature chalk hill figures, and empty rooms (e.g. Farmhouse Bedroom, 1939; London, V&A). 

1939 A Farmhouse Bedroom watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London
In 1939 he became a War Artist. He died in 1942 while observing a sea rescue mission.


This is part 1 of a 3-part post on the works of Eric Ravilious. Parts 1-2 show a chronology of his works other than ceramic designs – part 3 will show ceramic designs.

1927c Boy Bird-nesting wood engraving © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1928 Dr. Faustus Conjuring Mephostophilis engraving 18.3 x 13.1 cm © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1928 Harlequin watercolour 52  x 50 cm © Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1928 Wet Afternoon watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1928c Neptune watercolour 33 x 21 cm © Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1930 Edward Bawden Working in his Studio  tempera on board 79 x 92 cm © Royal College of Art, London, UK © Estate of Eric Ravilious. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

1930sc Tirzah Garwood and Charlotte Bawden in Brick House, Great Bardfield watercolour 44.2 x 55 cm © Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1932 Strawberry Nets watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1932 View from Brick House, Great Bardfield © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1932c The River Thames at Hammersmith © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1934 BBC talks pamphlet © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1934 Downs in Winter graphite & watercolour 44.2 x 55 cm © Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1934 Furlongs watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1934 Windmill graphite & watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1934 Woodcut Advertisement in Wine & Food magazine, printed by Curwen Press

1934 Woodcut from the above © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Chalk Paths watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Channel Steamer Leaving Harbour watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Cover design for Curwen Press Newsletter No. 6 © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Cucumber House watercolour © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Graphic for a bank form by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Westminster Bank © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Hull's Mill, Sible Hedingham, Essex watercolour © Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 The Greenhouse, Cyclamen and Tomatoes graphite & watercolour 47 x 59.7 cm © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Title page for "Winters of Content" by Osbert Sitwell © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Train Going over a Bridge at Night watercolour 40 x 50 cm © Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935 Wood-engraving for The Hansom Cab and the Pigeons by L.A.G. Strong © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935-36 Country Walks wood engraving © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1935c Two Cows watercolour 56.8 x 44.2 cm © Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1936 Caravans watercolour © Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1936 Village Street graphite & watercolour 39.5 x 51.8 cm © Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1936c Wood Engraving of Hull's Mill 12.4 x 19.4 cm © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

1937 Alphabet for Wedgwood ceramics © The Estate of Eric Ravilious. Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York - DACS, London

A ceramic plate by Wedgwood from my own collection 

High Street
In 1938 Ravilious created a set of 24 lithographs of shops, which were found on the British High Street of that time, for Country Life books. These prints formed a book for children printed by the Curwen Press. Unfortunately, only 2000 books were printed because it’s printing plates were destroyed during the blitz but as a result High Street has become one of the most highly sought after artists books of the time.

1938 Cover of "High Street"

1938 Title page of "High Street"

1938 A Saddler and Harness Maker from "High Street" lithograph 22.7 x 14.5 cm

1938 Amusement Arcade from "High Street" lithograph 23.1 x 14.8 cm

1938 Baker and Confectioner from "High Street lithograph

1938 Cheesemonger from "High Street" lithograph 23.4 x 115.6 cm

1938 Clerical Outfitter from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Coach Builder from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Family Butcher from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Fireworks from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Grill Room and Restaurant from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Hams from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Hardware from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Knife Grinder from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Letter Maker from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Model Ships and Railways from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Oyster Bar from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Public House from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Second-Hand Furniture from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Submarine Engineer from "High Street" lithograph

1938 The Furrier from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Theatrical Properties from "High Street" lithograph

1938 Undertaker from "High Street" lithograph







5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this. I'd forgotten how much I loved the work of Ravilious, one of the great English illustrators and designers. I'm a big fan of your site and this is the icing on the cake. Thanks!

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  2. Thank you John. Comments much appreciated.

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  4. I went to the Pallant House Gallery yesterday to see the Ravilious prints.

    This is a fantastic little supplement to that. He was such a great print maker. The High Street series is quite fabulous.

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