Eric Ravilious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
In issue 59 James Russell wrote about Peggy Angus before the opening of the exhibition he curated at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne last year. His new project a retrospective of Peggy's contemporary Eric Ravilious opened last week at The Dulwich Picture Gallery. The exhibition is a joy, instantly accessible Ravilious' watercolours in a reassuringly vintage palette have unexpected depths. A key figure of 20th century British painting, the exhibition traces his evolution from student days, at the Royal Collage where he met fellow artists Edward Bawden and was taught by Paul Nash, through his familiar landscapes and interiors to his work as a war artist and untimely death in 1942. [caption id="attachment_11005" align="alignright" width="600"] The Westbury Horse, 1939, watercolour on paper[/caption] For me it is the dramatic compositions and eerie atmosphere that make his work remarkable. Assigned to the Royal Navy as one of the first Official War Artists he found ways to capture and preserve this important period of British history. Particularly poignant is Tea at Furlongs 1939, Peggy Angus' home on the Sussex Downs, completed just before the outbreak of the 2nd World War. [caption id="attachment_11007" align="alignright" width="600"] Tea at furlongs 1939[/caption] Well worth a visit - if you would like to make an evening of it I would recommend the Mayfest Vintage Evening, 16 May 2015 From 6pm - the event combines a tour of the exhibition with a free dance class with Swing Patrol followed by an outdoor screening of The 39 Steps. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Southwark, Greater London SE21 7AD T: 020 8693 5254, 1 April-31 August, www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk [caption id="attachment_11004" align="alignright" width="600"] Submarines Surface at Sworders[/caption]
For a person of my age group – born 1942 – Eric Ravilious, signifies the style and palette of our childhood.
Many critics have commented on the low profile of Ravilious in recent decades and have suggested that he had become forgotten. To which I would retort, not by us !
During my visit this week, it was evident that many over the age of sixty, had retained an appetite for the work of this artist, which brought into sharp focus again, the restrained palette that characterised the period between the wars and post WW2.
It is often said that colour came alive in the sixties, and that is true, but the delicate’ (some might say, washed out ) shades of grey, brown and soft yellow and green, that for me represent the colours of my childhood, seen again here, were so evocative and brought memory flooding back.
I have always remembered the representations of the English countryside that Ravilious left for us, and throughout my life have rejoiced in seeing the downs in particular that he so brilliantly brought to life, when journeying around Southern England.
Viewing the paintings this week brought tears of joy.
I will be back again at Dulwich to feel again the joy before August.
Thank you James Russell !
Thanks for your kind words, Polly – I agree about composition: the more I look the more structure I see behind the scenes. And thank you Elaine: I don’t think Ravilious was forgotten by art lovers, but by the critical establishment. On which subject, you might enjoy this post: http://jamesrussellontheweb.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/forgotten-remembered-algernon-newton.html