• Ravilious in Pictures - ‘Sussex and the Downs’ by James Russell

    Eric Ravilious graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1925. He was a commercial artist, rare in that he sold many paintings during his lifetime. This book is the first in a trilogy covering different elements of his work. This book contains a selection of the watercolours he produced whilst he lived, worked and loved various women including his wife in Sussex during the 1930s.

    The scenes in the pictures range across Sussex, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Dorset. Each picture is accompanied by a brief, informative essay. These are light, and cover the story of Ravilious’ life and loves as well as setting the pictures into context, and drawing attention to details that may be missed.

    The last few pictures are of chalk figures, very common in the south of England, including the Cerne Abbas Giant. Apparently Mr. Ravilious tore his trousers hopping over a fence to paint it! Anecdotes like this from the artist’s life seem to bring the pictures alive.

    I particularly liked the rural scenes - views of rolling ploughed fields like those I still see today, portrayed in a simple yet beautiful way. Rollers, wind pumps, cement works, hills, valleys and cliffs all seem to have inspired the artist, and the watercolours are an ideal medium to portray chalk soil and pale light. He painted in all weathers, and some of the skies are fascinating. Interiors are covered too - my particular favourite being the Greenhouse shown here.

    The book is produced to a high standard, on quality paper, with hard covers and a beautiful dustjacket, as befits a book of Fine Art. I loved this book, and can’t thank A-Y enough for answering my challenge to request a copy for review.

    4 wine glasses


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