Ravilious in Pictures: A Travelling Artist is the fourth in a series of books celebrating the life and work of Eric Ravilious (1903-42). This volume features twenty-two pictures, each of which is both an exquisite painting in its own right and part of something bigger: the artist’s idiosyncratic study of Britain in the 1930s.
Although Ravilious often completed paintings in his studio, with the help of pencilled notes, his pictures invariably began as a sketch of a real place, at a particular time of day – often dawn, or soon after – and in whatever weather conditions the moment offered. The quest for new subjects took Ravilious around Britain and beyond, on a decade-long journey of discovery that was interrupted only by his death on active service as a war artist. Inspired by places as diverse as Dungeness in Kent and the Welsh valley of Capel-y-ffin, Ravilious also sought out unusual subjects, like the Greenwich Observatory, and strange perspectives, such as the view from inside the Belle Tout lighthouse.
Following his habit of painting in series he drew the ports of Bristol and Rye, Newhaven and Le Havre; he painted lifeboats and pilot boats and the picturesque interiors of dockside inns. Each painting depicts a particular aspect of a fascinating place and each is accompanied by a concise essay which explores the location further, introducing characters and stories hidden behind the scenes. Taken as a whole, the twenty-two watercolours in this volume provide a uniquely compelling portrait of Britain in the years before World War II.
Ravilious in Pictures: A Travelling Artist is a companion to Sussex and the Downs (2009), The War Paintings (2010) and A Country Life (2011). Together, the books form an intimate portrait of the artist and his world – a life in pictures.