Monday, 13 April 2009

Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)

"Lysanders in the snow" 1942

In his 39 years Eric Ravilious left behind some of the most evocative paintings of Britain ever produced, as well as some of the most enduring and effective images depicting the machinations of War. That he did so in a hazy, subdued palette of ochres, greys, blues, pinks and yellows, in watercolour and with pencils, is all the more remarkable. Ravilious' Second World War was not the horror of the bombed out building or the concentration camp, instead his work features a clipped and distant view of warplanes and explosions, soldiers at work, and a focus on the sunlit hills and valleys of England. The effort to "keep calm and carry on" as the bliss of the inter-war years slowly eroded to an existence of austerity and anxiety.

"Shelling by night" 1941

Ravilious was a prolific painter, muralist, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver (amazingly, he produced over 400 wood engravings alone.) He studied at the Royal College of Art in London under the great Paul Nash and soon became one of the most well respected artists of the 1930's in England. During this period he undertook commissions from Wedgwood ceramics and London Transport, producing seminal designs with a lightness of touch unmistakably his.

Ravilious was commissioned as an official war artist during World War 2, and became a captain in the Royal Marines. He died during a Royal Air Force mission in Iceland in 1942. His work was neglected for many years although a 2004 UK restrospective helped rectify this.

For a full biography please see some of the links below.

Biography at Wikipedia
Biography at The Tate
A profile of Ravilious

Ravilious and his wife Tirzah working on a mural in 1933.

Official site, run by the artist's grandson
Imagined Realities - online exhibition from the Imperial War Museum
▪ Some background to his work with Wedgwood
Works by Ravilious in the Tate
24 Lithographs from Ravilious' 1938 "High Street" book

"HMS Glorious in the Arctic" 1940

"HMS Ark Royal in Action" 1940

"HMS Ark Royal in Action" 1940

"Different aspects of submarines"

"Submarines in dry dock" 1940

"Paddle steamer Britannie - Bristol Quay"

"Downs in winter" 1934

"Road by an airfield"

Three mugs designed for Wedgwood

A dinner plate from his "Travel" service designed for Wedgwood

An entire "Travel" service, designed for Wedgwood

A rare piece of fabric produced in 1958 from a Ravilious design

The "Garden" series for Wedgwood

The "Alphabet" nurseryware series

"The Teleprinter Room" 1941

"Lombardy Poplars" 1935

"The Attic Bedroom"

"Working controls while submerged"

"Windmill" 1934

"Church under a hill" 1927

"The H"

"Midnight Sun" 1940

"Fire Engineer"

"Wiltshire Landscape"

"The Water Wheel"

"Diving Controls 2" 1941

"Commander of a submarine looking through a periscope"

"Men operating submarine controls" 1941

"Chalk Paths"

"Dangerous work at low tide"

"RNAS Sick Bay, Dundee" 1941

"Testing Davis apparatus"

"Train Landscape"

"Leaving Scapa Flow"

"Ward Room 1" 1941

"No. 29 Bus" 1934


Will said...

Thanks so much for the introduction!

Arrived at via peacay's shared feed.


David Coffin said...

Fabulous collection! Thanks for including so many images; all pouting over your silence, lo, these many months forgotten!

Charlie said...

Just to let you know, absolutely fantastic to see this back and being updated.

Also, I have just been to the Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick, where they have a couple of Ravilious's works on display as part of an exhibition on Freud's 'Nachtraglichkeit': Well worth a look!