Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities Hardcover – 6 Nov 2003
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'Seventy years after his death, Eric Ravilious illustrations of England at home and at war are enjoying something of a renaissance. Imagined Realities is the third major book of his work published this year, collecting together watercolours, prints and extracts from the artist s letters.' --Artists and Illustrators --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Alan Powers, the curator of this exhibition, writes on the art, architecture and design of twentieth-century Britain. He is a regular columnist of "Building Design and Architectural Journal," is architectural correspondent for "The Spectator" and has published a number of books on architecture and design. He is also a watercolour painter and a printmaker.
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Top Customer Reviews
If he had survived there is no doubt that British post-war art would have been very different. Because Ravilious was single-handedly reconciling watercolour to the modern movement, crafting the most sophisticated compositions that merged landscape concerns with contemporary values.
This superbly illustrated book delivers a useful overview of Ravilious's working life and creative achievement, plotting out his contributions to art, illustration and design. The selection, number, size and quality of colour plates is superb and make this handsome publication an essential addition to any library covering English art in mid century.
(This book is a companion work to John Piper: The Forties)
Revilious was active across a range of media – book illustration in wood engavings and lithography, pottery and textile design and painting. He painted watercolours [using minimal water and combining colour with differentiated graphic strokes], almost exclusively landscapes, and developed a very personal, albeit rather detached style.
This catalogue by Alan Powers, includes illustrations from a broad range of sources, including many from private collections. It contains 89 full page reproductions, almost all in colour and full-page, that range chronologically from the sensitively drawn pencil sketch “Untitled [Child]”, 1927, to works illustrating wartime themes just before his death.
Following an Introduction, illustrated chapters focus on the artist’s Murals, Illustration, Design, Watercolours and War Paintings. There is a Conclusion ‘Imagined and Imaginal Realities’ and the book ends with a Bibliograpgy, brief details of 25 works in the exhibition not illustrated here, a Chronology and a List of Lenders.
It is refreshing to find an artist unafflicted by serious artistic crises – he was ‘gay and easy and ready for anything’ whilst ‘friends thought of him as a butterfly’. Perhaps this carefree attitude and a lack of interest in both oil painting [which he considered ‘like using toothpaste’), the medium of the ‘real artist’, and Modernism contributed to his subsequent neglect.Read more ›
For the price, I felt this book was really good value for money. I'm wasn't too interested in the design of the ceramics (although they seemed to be the same kind of thing by Grandmother and my Great Aunt seemed to own ) yet the wood cut images also featured in the book seemed to evoke a wonderful feeling of nostalgia where, during the inter-war years, the artistic community seemed to be inspired by the hope of an optimistic future as well as an idealised past. This sentiment echoes itself most obviously within the paintings of the English countryside. For me, this is where the book scores highly and naïve quality of some of the artwork, especially in the idiosyncratic approach to angles and perspective, adds immeasurably to the charm. The later war paintings are notable for the absence of people and the appearance of old aeroplanes like Tiger Moths, Spitfires and Walruses become slightly surreal and fascinating under Ravilious' brush.
The first third of the book explains a lot about the development of this artist's style and charts his work through the 1920's through to the early years of World War Two. This text is informative yet I think that the paintings are best left to do the talking.
As a novice to books about art, I quite liked this and the work within certainly conjures up the spirit of the 1930's like nothing else I am aware of other than the jazz from that era.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting book on Eric Ravilious whose work is known, but anonymously, to many people. I found the physical binding a little flimsy, but the content was enlightening.Published 23 months ago by Mrs. B. Daly