Eric Ravilious May

Oh, I do love the works of Eric Ravilious. Yes, I prefer his water colours and particularly his Downland views, but I still have plenty of time for his woodcuts used as book illustrations. This is one of them.

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This was another illustration for the 1938 edition of ‘The Natural History of Selborne’ by Gilbert White. It depicts a group of people sitting at a shelter around a large tree. A couple of men smoke long pipes and clouds scud across the sky.

It amazes me what can be achieved in just black and white. This is not the same as a black and white photo for these also use shades of grey – many more than 50 of them. Here we have either white or black and the artist has to come up with suitable textures.

Cunning stuff – and clearly this picture was chosen for May because it features a village maypole.

It’s good to report that maypoles still get used and here we see a maypole in use in my own village last year.

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