P22 – Research 1 – Eric Ravilious

The course notes show “Vase of Flowers in a Garden” by Eric Ravilious, with the comment “Here the artist has used a sharp implement to scratch marks into the paint to give the effect of grass in an overgrown garden.”

[Bridgeman Education will not allow their images on publicly accessible blogs, so here is a link to the image: http://www.bridgemaneducation.com/ImageView.aspx?result=5&balid=188654 ]

Based on the use of sgraffito in this illustration, I looked forward to finding out “more about this artist and his techniques”. However I became puzzled as to why this artist was chosen. For example, his pencil and watercolour painting called “Aerodrome” from 1942 seemed to have pencil drawn planes with colour washes – not what I expected regarding drawing technique.


[I have replaced the original Bridgeman Education image with another I found using Google Images]

According to that font of unpeer-reviewed information that is Wikipedia, Ravilious was “one of the best-known artists of the 1930s. His watercolours, painted with a fine stippling technique within compositions that give light or dark features a telling role, are thought by some to have an almost uncanny loveliness.” I’m not sure what “uncanny loveliness” is, but I think it’s meant to be a complement.

He was inspired by the landscape of the South Downs, and he says that he “simply had to abandon [his] tinted drawings”. Unfortunately I can’t find any of these “tinted drawings”. I did find a watercolour over pencil work called “Salt Marsh” which he painted in 1938.

[Again only allowed a link nowadays: http://images2.bridgemanart.com/cgi-bin/bridgemanImage.cgi/400wm.FAS.5600820.7055475/276886.jpg ]

It is difficult to tell, even with the zoom tool on Bridgeman Education, if the hatching of the rocks is sgraffito as it the course example. It could be done in watercolour with a fine brush, or it could be the pencil which is referred to in the description.

[No enlarged image allowed. Sorry!]

Another pencil and watercolour work from the same year is “Waterwheel”. The distant hills seem to have some of the “fine stippling technique” referred to by Wikipedia.

[I have replaced the original Bridgeman Education image with another I found using Google Images]

Ravilious was an official war artist and was killed in 1942 “while accompanying a Royal Air Force air sea rescue mission off Iceland that failed to return to its base.” A lithograph produced the year before called “Ward Room 1” showed life on a submarine. It has some beautiful hatching and line work.


[NOT from Bridgeman Education!]

Ravilinous also produced some fine wood cuts. “The Bed Chamber” from “The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta” from 1932 again shows in another medium some fine hatching.

[Sorry, but only a link: http://images2.bridgemanart.com/cgi-bin/bridgemanImage.cgi/400wm.FAG.9849410.7055475/146310.jpg ]

On reflection, Ravilious produced some interesting line work, hatching and stippling in pencil and watercolours, in lithography and in woodcuts, so perhaps he is, after all, an appropriate artist to look at at this stage of the course.


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
This entry was posted in Art, Drawing 1, OCA, Open College of the Arts, Research and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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