ERIC RAVILIOUS AT DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY – REVIEW
I have to confess I’d never heard of Eric Ravilious until Dulwich announced their programme for this year.
But this exhibition of the ‘peace and war’ artist is well worth a visit even though not every work will be to everyone’s taste.
For those of you not familiar with the gallery’s exhibition area, it’s a series of six small rooms that run along in a stepped corridor. And this exhibition has been hung with a great deal of care and thought.
In the opening room I liked ‘Caravans’ (see image above) and the two contrasting paintings of boats on beaches, one surrounded by barbed wire.
There’s also designs for embroidery, a handkerchief and a 1937 Wedgwood alphabet mug. in a small display case you can see Eric Ravilious’ original tool roll kit, next to some of the books he illustrated.
The second room includes a study for Morley College murals 1928 – 1930 (the murals themselves were destroyed in the Blitz); prospect from an attic; Ironbridge interior , flowers on a cottage table, the Vicarage and a very detailed submarine series of six.
What I gather is the best-known of Ravilious’ work – Train Landscape which features the interior of a railway carriage with the White Horse carved into the chalk outside – is also on display.
Room at the William the Conqueror, two drawings at Furlongs and a very relaxing Wiltshire Landscape follow.
I found the works with the richer, slightly darker, colours tended to work better.
There’s also a landscape of the Duke of Hereford’s Knob – (also known as Twmpa, it’s a mountain in south-east Wales, forming a part of the great northwest scarp of the Black Mountains.
James Russell, who curated the show said the area of Ravilious’ work that he valued were his watercolours and it was as a watercolourist he wanted to be known.
As well as the aforementioned White Horse there’s also the Cerne Abbas giant, the Wilmington Giant and the Westbury Horse.
His last body of work was sketching from the air. The final room includes Darkness and Light – a painting of November 5th; Dangerous work at low tide – men defusing a magnetic mine at Whitley Bay; Bathing machines at Aldeburgh; and Anchor and Boats in Rye Harbour.
One of the paintings in the last room was bought in a shop for £100. The purchaser thought it might be worth something. It was. It sold at auction for £312,700. JG
(To 31 August 2015)
Open10am – 5pm Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm at Weekends
Price £12.50 Adult, £11.50 Senior Citizens, £7.50 Concessions, FREE Children and Members