Eric Ravilious – October

In October I have been looking at a part of Eric’s life that I know least about. I have some familiarity with Ravilious of Sussex, the lover of chalk horses and old machinery.  I know about his work as a war artist which led to his early death when the plane he was in was lost. I know about his design work for crockery.

But his time in Essex is not really known about by me and so this October I have had a chance to discover more.

Here is the picture I have seen for the past month.

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This picture is simply called ‘Village Street’ and was painted in 1936.

Eric had married his wife, Tirzah, in 1930 and for a while they lived with Edward Bawden and his wife at Great Barfield in Essex. The more permanent Ravilious home was in the village of Castle Hedingham and that is where this scene was painted. It is clearly ‘after a rain shower’. The road is wet and reflective, but the cyclists and the walker are without raincoats. The whole scene, as you might expect, is incredibly free from motor transport.

The scene is still recognisably the same today, nearly 80 years on, but these days, as is often the case, cars dominate the roadways.

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I have discovered lots of really lovely Ravilious water colours painted in Essex. It isn’t a part of Essex I know. Maybe a visit is called for sometime.

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