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Eric Ravilious
Dates: British, 1903 - 1942
Biographical Account:

Eric Ravilious was a watercolour painter, wood engraver, designer, and muralist. He was born in London in 1903 and studied at the Eastbourne School of Art. In 1922 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art (RCA), where he became close friends with printmaker Edward Bawden. They were both taught by artist Paul Nash, who encouraged his pupils to be both painters and designers, and helped create valuable links between his students and possible patrons.

 

It was at the RCA that Ravilious met artist Douglas Percy Bliss, who introduced him to literature. Ravilious became inspired and went on to produce many book illustrations. After producing a series of engravings for the RCA students’ magazine, Ravilious received his first commission of thirty-four engravings for Martin Armstrong’s Desert: A Legend. In his early career he produced many wood engravings for the Golden Cockerel, Curwen and Nonesuch presses and also painted a large mural in the refectory of Morley College, London. Ravilious also experimented with lithography for his larger works, which allowed him a wider range of colour. During the 1930’s Ravilious worked as a designer for Wedgwood, and in 1936 he designed the celebration mug for the coronation of Kind Edward VIII.

 

Despite his skill and success as a designer, as his career progressed he started to concentrate predominantly on watercolours. He painted many landscapes of southern England and the south coast, often working from the home of his friend; Sussex based artist and wallpaper designer, Peggy Angus.

 

These landscapes depict the tension in the countryside in the lead up to Second World War, and Ravilious became an Official War Artist in 1940. His career was sadly cut short however, as he died in 1942 whilst bserving a sea rescue mission with the Royal Air Force.

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