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White Horse – dummy Puffin book by Eric Ravilious

In 1939 Eric Ravilious was commissioned to create a Puffin book for children about the chalk downs and White Horses. He began a 'dummy' of sketches showing how the book might work and began to paint a series of watercolours that were to be the illustrations. The text was to be based on the book 'Downland Man' by H.J. Massingham. Ravilious was appointed a war artist and did not have the time to create the lithographs so that the book could be published. He was attached to an RAF squadron in Iceland and flew a search and rescue mission. His plane did not return. The book was presumed lost and the story of its discovery is told by Joe Power of Design for Today who has published a version of the book that Ravilious may have created with new illustrations by Alice Patullo.

The cover sketch shows a white horse through a train window. The Puffin logo on the door replaces the 3rd class sign in his finished watercolour.

Publisher Joe Power explains how the Puffin book dummy was rediscovered

Eric Ravilious

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