Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Forthcoming Book: Eric Ravilious and the Downs


Exciting news: later this autumn the Mainstone Press will be publishing 'Ravilious in Pictures: Sussex and the Downs'. I'll post an image of the cover as soon as its available. This is the first in a series of affordable, stylish books in which a selection of the artist's finest watercolours will be reproduced; 'Sussex and the Downs' features twenty seminal paintings of the South Downs and chalk figures like the Cerne Abbas Giant.

I've written a short essay to accompany each painting, telling stories about place, artist and time. Rather than dwelling on artistic influences and techniques, these essays explore the stories hidden within the paintings, about Ravilious and his circle, about English culture in the 1930s and about the constantly evolving landscape in which he chose to work.

The aim isn't to explain the paintings - far from it. Rather, I hope to make the viewer's experience of painting and place a little richer. In spirit, my approach is like that adopted by John Betjeman as editor of the Shell Guides in the 1930s, which Candida Lycett Green, speaking in 2006, summarised as "human reactions to places, rather than academic reactions."

Further details will be available from the Mainstone Press soon.

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