Eric Ravilious

Eric Ravilious

Watercolourist, wood engraver, book illustrator, lithographer and mural decorator, Ravilious was one of the best-loved artists of his time. Part of a tradition of English topographical watercolourists, he painted the Sussex Downs, as well as designing graphics for London Transport and Wedgewood and working as an official war artist. Read more

Ravilious was born in Acton in 1903 but grew up in Eastbourne, Sussex, where he studied until he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London. There he was taught by Paul Nash, and met and made friends with Edward Bawden. He was part of a remarkable generation of artistic talent that also included Henry Moore.

In 1930 Ravilious married the artist Tirzah Garwood and befriended Sussex based artist Peggy Angus. It was from her home, Furlongs, near Firle on the Sussex Downs, that Ravilious began to paint his Downland subjects. Influenced by a lightness of technique as well as a deep understanding of design, he applied a dry and measured approach to romantic subjects.

He went on to become one of the best-known artists of the 1930’s, also working for London Transport and Wedgwood. From 1940 he was an official war artist, painting memorable pictures of ships, aircraft and coastal defences, until his tragic death in a flying accident off Iceland in 1942, when he became one of the few official war artists to die on active service.


June/July/August 2014


Eastbourne's Towner art gallery have just gone over to trust having broken away from Eastbourne Borough Council and have secured broadcaster David Dimbleby as chair of the trustees. Towner will clelbrate the official launch of the trust with a weekend of activites from September 12th - 14th which will include the opening of a new room devoted to the work of Ravilious. 

We are excited to hear an exhibition of Bawden's work 'London By Bawden' is on display at The Higgins Museum and Gallery in Bedford this summer. The Exhibition will run until October 26th and offers a compreshensive overview of Bawden’s work for London Underground, his large, structural linocuts of London monuments and London markets, and images of the Horse Guards and Kew Gardens. These remarkable images offer insight into how Bawden’s relationship with the city developed throughout his long career.  

James Russell, author of the popular Ravilious in Pictures series, will be giving a talk on Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious at the museum on Thursday 19th June. Booking is essential. Ravillious and Bawden met on the first day of Design School of the Royal College of Art and were friends until Ravillious's untimely death in 1942. Although very different in character, they shared a fascination for Georgian and Victorian art. They were delighted by the idiosyncratic and shared a determination to reinvent the English watercolour tradition. Complimentary drink included before the lecture. Copy and paste the link below into your browser to book tickets.