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2015: Ravilious

1st April - 31st August

 "A joy from start to finish" - The Telegraph

"The Seurat of Sussex" Laura Cumming, The Observer

"From the start we see an artist finding joy in the unexpected." Nancy Durrant, The Times

The first major exhibition to survey watercolours by celebrated British artist Eric Ravilious (1903-42). Well known for his iconic work for Wedgwood, Ravilious is widely considered one of the key figures in mid-20th century British design but he was also one of the finest watercolourists of the century. 

His astonishingly prolific career spanned peace and war. With the outbreak of World War II Ravilious was assigned to the Royal Navy as one of the first Official War Artists finding new ways to capture and preserve the fleeting record of passing time.

Over 80 watercolours were on display - including famous works like Train Landscape and Westbury Horse as well as rarely seen works from private collections providing an inspiring look at his work between the mid-1920s and his death in 1942. Said to be inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock Ravilious' images rarely contain figures and yet his shadowy interiors and strange perspectives often create a sense of human presence.

Although he died at the age of only 39, Ravilious was largely responsible for the revival of English watercolour painting. He started out under the tutelage of Paul Nash at the Royal College of Art and although hugely versatile it was painting that Ravilious saw as his true vocation; it was this work that he exhibited, and he cared deeply about its reception by fellow artists like Moore and John Piper.

The exhibition was curated by James Russell, a leading specialist on Eric Ravilious whose books on the artist include the popular series Ravilious in Pictures (2009-12).

 Click to download the large print guide/labels for the exhibition