Eric Ravilious, a name resonating through the annals of British art history, left an indelible mark on the artistic landscape of his time. In this blog post, we delve into the life, works, and enduring legacy of this remarkable artist, shedding light on his contributions to painting, design, printmaking, and illustration.

Early Life and Education

Born on July 22, 1903, in Acton, London, Eric William Ravilious spent his formative years in Sussex. His artistic journey began with his education at the Eastbourne School of Art, followed by a scholarship to the prestigious Royal College of Art. It was during this time that Ravilious forged friendships with notable artists like Edward Bawden and studied under the tutelage of Paul Nash, a renowned figure in the realm of wood engraving.

Career and Marriage

Ravilious' career trajectory saw him emerge as a versatile artist, proficient in watercolor painting, design, and woodcuts. His marriage to fellow artist Tirzah Garwood marked the beginning of a collaborative and creatively enriching partnership. Together, they embarked on artistic ventures, leaving an indelible imprint on the art world of their time.

Printmaking and Illustration

Ravilious' artistic oeuvre extended beyond traditional painting to encompass printmaking and illustration. His meticulous craftsmanship is evident in the more than 400 illustrations and 40 lithographic designs he produced during his lifetime. From book illustrations to ceramic designs for Wedgwood, Ravilious' work adorned various mediums, captivating audiences with its distinctive charm.


The realm of design also beckoned Ravilious, leading to notable commissions for ceramic designs, glasswork, and graphic advertisements. His collaboration with renowned brands like Wedgwood showcased his ability to infuse everyday objects with artistic flair, earning him widespread acclaim in design circles.


Ravilious' affinity for watercolor painting became synonymous with his artistic identity. Inspired by the landscapes of the South Downs and the quaint surroundings of places like Furlongs, his watercolors exuded a unique blend of lyricism and precision. Works like "Tea at Furlongs" stand as testaments to his mastery of the medium.


His foray into mural painting added another dimension to Ravilious' artistic repertoire. From the tea room on Victoria Pier at Colwyn Bay to the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, his murals adorned public spaces, captivating viewers with their whimsical charm and vibrant imagery.

War Artist

The outbreak of World War II saw Ravilious assume the role of a war artist, capturing scenes of conflict with poignancy and insight. His poignant depictions of naval operations and coastal defenses remain poignant reminders of the human cost of war.

Legacy and Impact

Despite his untimely demise in 1942, Eric Ravilious' legacy endures, testament to the enduring power of his artistic vision. His works adorn public collections across the UK, with exhibitions and retrospectives paying homage to his enduring influence on British art.

Eric Ravilious Prints and Canvas Panels


Eric Ravilious FAQ's

  1. Who was Eric Ravilious?

    • Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) was a British painter, designer, book illustrator, and wood-engraver renowned for his contributions to the arts during the early to mid-20th century.
  2. What is Eric Ravilious known for?

    • Ravilious is particularly known for his exquisite watercolor paintings depicting English landscapes, especially those of the South Downs and Castle Hedingham, characterized by a modernist sensibility and clarity.
  3. Where was Eric Ravilious born and raised?

    • Born on July 22, 1903, in Acton, London, Ravilious spent his formative years in Sussex, where his family moved to when he was still a child.
  4. What was Eric Ravilious' artistic education?

    • Ravilious attended the Eastbourne School of Art and later received a scholarship to study at the Design School of the Royal College of Art, where he studied under influential artists like Paul Nash.
  5. Who were some of Eric Ravilious' notable influences?

    • Ravilious drew inspiration from various sources, including the English landscape, the works of artists like Thomas Bewick, and his contemporaries such as Edward Bawden.
  6. Did Eric Ravilious serve in World War II?

    • Yes, Ravilious served as a war artist during World War II, documenting scenes of naval operations, coastal defenses, and other aspects of wartime life with his poignant paintings.
  7. What mediums did Eric Ravilious work in?

    • Ravilious was proficient in watercolor painting, wood engraving, printmaking, illustration, and design, showcasing his versatility across various artistic mediums.
  8. What are some notable commissions or projects undertaken by Eric Ravilious?

    • Ravilious received commissions for ceramic designs from Wedgwood, illustrated numerous books for publishers like Jonathan Cape and the Golden Cockerel Press, and created graphic advertisements for London Transport.
  9. Where can one view works by Eric Ravilious?

    • Works by Ravilious are held in public collections across the UK, including the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne, the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Imperial War Museum.
  10. What is Eric Ravilious' legacy?

    • Eric Ravilious left behind a rich artistic legacy, celebrated for his innovative approach to English landscape painting, his contributions to design and illustration, and his poignant wartime artwork, which continues to inspire artists and art enthusiasts alike.


March 29, 2024 — James Lucas

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.