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Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities Paperback – 30 May 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Philip Wilson; Reprint edition (30 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781300011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781300015
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 1.3 x 27.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) is now firmly one of the most popular artists of his period. Eric Ravilio....


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Format: Paperback
The art history machine seems to have unjustly missed Eric Ravilious. Once a leading light on the 1930s London gallery scene, he is nowadays hard to place because his relation to modernist art is tricky to gauge. Besides, his death in combat during the Second World War meant that Ravilious never participated in the movement he helped inspire, English Neo-Romanticism. Like Paul Nash, who also passed away, Ravilious's work was missing from the exhibitions that charted the rise and spread of the movement, the glory going to followers.

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)
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Eric Ravilious, 1903-42, was one of the most popular artists of his time but, following his death during World War II, his reputation declined. This catalogue accompanied the first major retrospective exhibition at the Imperial War Museum celebrating the centenary of the artist’s birth.

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.
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I know very little about art and was inspired to buy this book by the picture of the Tiger Moth on the cover as I love old bi-planes. From this point of view I suppose I am not the typical purchaser of the book about Eric Ravilious - an artist of whom I previously knew nothing yet someone who was producing painting which have an uncanny element of the familiar.

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.
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This book arrived yesterday. It was well packaged by the seller who had thoughtfully added a notebook and pen as well as a card depicting one of Ravilious paintings. I am one very happy owner of another Ravilious book.
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Great book well illustrated. Nuff said! Arrived promptly and in good nick. Really sensible overview of an interesting and multi talented man.
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