ERIC RAVILIOUS (British / 1903-1942)

Eric William Ravilious was born in London. He grew up in Eastbourne, where he attended the School of Art before going to the Royal College of Art where he studied under Paul Nash. Eric Ravilious was a fellow-student of Edward Bawden, and the two artists became close friends and collaborators. Today, their work is seen as defining the essence of mid-twentieth-century Englishness. Eric Ravilious made his first lithograph in 1936. His best-loved lithographic works are the colour lithographs of shop fronts he created for the book High Street, published by Noel Carrington at Country Life Books in 1938. Stemming from an idea by Ravilious's lover Helen Binyon for an alphabet of shops, the lithographs for High Street were drawn directly on the stone at the Curwen Press, whose directors bankrolled the project in order to promote the idea of autolithographed books. Noel Carrington - the publisher of Kathleen Hale's Orlando books and then of the Puffin Picture Books - was, like Ravilious and his circle, fascinated by the autolithographed books for children being published in the 30s in France and Russia, and was the perfect publisher to pick up this ambitious project. High Street was published in an edition of 2000 unnumbered copies; the lithographic stones were kept for a possible reprint, but were destroyed when the Curwen Press was hit by a bomb in 1941. Whether Ravilious had seen a copy of Lucien Boucher's parallel French project, Boutiques, published in 1925, is not known, but the two sets of lithographs make a fascinating cross-channel comparison. From 1929-38, Eric Ravilious taught part-time at the Royal College of Art. One of the most versatile artists of his day, Eric Ravilious worked as a painter, muralist, wood engraver, lithographer, and designer. Ravilious was appointed an official War Artist in WWII; he died when his plane was lost off Iceland in 1942, cutting short one of the most promising careers in twentieth-century British art. See: J. M. Richards, The Wood Engravings of Eric Ravilious; Powers, Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities; Constable & Simon, The England of Eric Ravilious.

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Selected prints by ERIC RAVILIOUS

Manor Gardens, 1927
Wood engraving
Amusement Arcade, 1938
Submarine Engineer, 1938

View all available prints by ERIC RAVILIOUS