Eric Ravilious

Wedding Cake Shop

The marvellous Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) is one of my father’s favourite artists, and since it is the latter’s birthday today, this post is for him.  Ravilious was a British wood engraver, designer, and painter who was sadly killed in the second world war while he was travelling with the Royal navy as a war artist.  His charming scenes of everyday life in 20s and 30s Britain, and his evocative images of the glorious English countryside are deeply nostalgic and exceptionally stylish.  I love his landscapes with their undulating hills, soft, hazy light and tranquil idealism; in contrast his figurative works have a wonderful humour to them.  His ability to capture the shimmering light on the surface of the water, and the tonal nuances of the hills and dales is quite simply masterful.

Some of his works can be seen at the Tate galleries or at the Imperial War Museum in London.


Chalk Paths

Downs in Winter

Wiltshire Landscape

High Street


Train Landscape

Edward Bawden Working in his Studio, Eric Ravilious , Tempera on board

Eric Bawden Working in His Studio

Westbury Horse (Giclee Limited Edition of 950) by Eric Ravilious

Westbury Horse

Pilot Boat

Dangerous Work At Low Tide by Eric Ravilious


Kynoch Press Notebook

Eric Ravilious - Diver - Lithograph -  Ernest Brown & Phillips Ltd


~ by laxshmirose on June 3, 2010.

3 Responses to “Eric Ravilious”

  1. Ravilous, what a nice surprise, Laxshmi … (but not surprising Chris likes him so much: R has always epitomized a certain kind of 1930s and 40s Englishness to me; lyric, subtle, local, attuned to the climate’s pale suns and softly clouded skies) … somehow I can also envisage your dad as being very happy in that era, when Dylan Thomas, TS Eliot, Benjamin Britain, steam trains and strong cups of tea and other icons were still around … Ravilous, Nash, Bawden … what an interesting bunch! … and let’s not forget Edward Ardizzone!

  2. I had not heard about Eric Ravilious before, also a nice surprise for me, impressed by the gentle liveliness of his work.

  3. Thanks Laxshmi for this. It seems to be one of the conventions of the art world that (a) designers can’t be rated as highly as artists, and (b) watercolourists can’t be rated as highly as artists in other media: oils, acrylics, elephant dung and who knows what. Ravilious suffers on both counts – nevertheless his art has been kept in the public arena with the help of various books and exhibitions, and rightly so. For me, there’s a sublime balance about his work. His images have a strong sense of structure yet also a deep sense of benevolence. The structure never dominates the overall image and the benevolence doesn’t tip over into sentimentality: his art has a spontaneous centredness to it. It’s also balanced in that, unusually, he sought to integrate modern technological developments into a more traditional English landscape art. Some artists (e.g. the futurists) went crazy for technology; other artists tried to ignore it – but Ravilious did a fine job of harmonising old and new. This is especially evident in the pictures he did as a war artist.

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