Ravilious Wood Engravings October 20 2013

We're looking forward to getting our hands on a copy of James Russell's latest book for Mainstone Press.

Ravilious Wood Engravings features a selection of Ravilious wood engravings over its 80 pages, including at least one that's never been published before.

From the press release...

"Although a brilliant watercolourist, inventive lithographer and talented designer, Eric Ravilious (1903-42) was above all a wood engraver. It was in this demanding medium that he first found artistic expression in the early 1920s, and over the next two decades produced some of the finest engravings of the age. And what an age it was! Starting shortly before World War One, a succession of talented artists and designers explored a medium whose most famous British proponent, Thomas Bewick, had died almost a century earlier.

In his lifetime Ravilious was acknowledged as a modern master of wood engraving, and for Ravilious: Wood Engravings we have selected illustrations that show the evolution of a remarkable talent. Ravilious thrived on the limitations imposed by the medium, squeezing entire scenes into the tiniest vignette. Some of the engravings have the mysterious quality of his watercolours, while a wry humour animates others, such as his portrait of publisher Robert Gibbings being carried off by a giant cockerel. Running through the book is a sense of the pleasure Ravilious took in his work, which he approached with great skill and a light heart. While staying with his parents in Eastbourne he would cut his blocks with their canary fluttering around his fingers, and subsequently he always whistled when he worked.

When Ravilious died on active service as a war artist in 1942, at the age of 39, he had already achieved remarkable success. His short but spectacular career is described in a full-length introduction, which also sets his achievements in the context of the interwar years. Accompanying each illustration, meanwhile, is an extended caption designed to illuminate the engraving in an informative and entertaining way. In a manner familiar to readers of Ravilious in Pictures, author James Russell sets out to discover the places that inspired Ravilious, explore the remarkable books he illustrated and meet the people he portrayed. Ravilious: Wood Engravings is both a collection of beautiful, surprising pictures and an entertaining portrait of a wonderful artist and his world."

We'd recommend you visit James Russell's excellent blog for lots of related writings.

If you'd like to see more of Ravilious' work, we'd recommend a trip to the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester where their Eric Ravilious Prints exhibition runs until 8th December 2013. More on that soon.

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