IDBURY PRINTS

GWEN RAVERAT (English / 1885-1957)

Gwendoline Mary Raverat was born in Cambridge in 1885, the daughter of Professor of Astronomy, Sir George Darwin, and his American wife Maud du Puy. She was therefore the granddaughter of Charles Darwin. Gwen Raverat eloquently evoked her family and childhood in her memoir Period Piece, published in 1952. In 1909 Gwen Raverat became a member of the Neo-Pagans, the group of Cambridge students whose leading lights included Rupert Brooke, David Garnett, her cousin Frances Darwin (the poet Frances Cornford), her future brother-in-law Geoffrey Keynes, and her future husband Jacques Raverat. Gwen and Jacques also became integral figures in the Bloomsbury Group. Both studied at the Slade School of Art, where Stanley Spencer became a close friend. By 1920 Gwen Raverat was able to hold an exhibition of 92 wood engravings at the Adelphi Gallery; that year she became one of the founder members of the Society of Wood Engravers. The couple then moved to Vence in the south of France for Jacques Raverat's health; he died there in 1925. The wood engravings Gwen made in Vence are among her loveliest; unfortunately the Provence climate played havoc with the woodblocks, so these exquisite works can never again be printed direct from the block. Her long and influential career as a wood engraver was cut short by WWII. In her British Wood-Engraved Book Illustration 1904-1940, Joanna Selborne writes of Gwen Raverat, "Apart from Lucien Pissarro, she was virtually the only practitioner in the early days of the revival to apply the lessons of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism and to retain an interest in light effects throughout her work." We are pleased to be able to offer a number of engravings hand-printed by Gwen Raverat herself, from the Raverat estate. With these, we have been unable to be as precise as usual about type of paper and dimensions of the sheet; all of the engravings are on larger sheets with at least 2 cm of margin all round, and are usually printed on off-white Japanese paper. See: Joanna Selborne and Lindsay Newman, Gwen Raverat: Wood Engraver (1996); Frances Spalding, Gwen Raverat (2001).

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Selected prints by GWEN RAVERAT

The River Bourne, 1931
Wood engraving
The River Darent, 1931
Wood engraving

View all available prints by GWEN RAVERAT