Sunday, 6 September 2009

Ravilious at the Towner


At Easter Alan and I gave a talk on the book to the Friends of the Towner Art Gallery, in Eastbourne. Frances Lloyd had this to say in the Towner Times, Aug 09 edition:

WITH TOWNER HOUSING the largest collection of his work in the world and the fact that he was an Eastbourne man, Eric Ravilious is always popular. He proved a big draw when the Friends recently welcomed writer and historian, James Russell to the Gold Room in the Winter Garden to share his knowledge about the shops featured in Ravilious’ seminal book, High Street.

The book, published 70 years ago, featured lithographs of 24 high street shops of the late 1930s and James Russell has been on a quest to identify and locate the shops – all real places but, in many cases, offering only tantalising clues as to their name or location. Only 2000 copies of the book were printed and what is left of remaining copies are much sought after, particularly as the lithographic plates were destroyed during the Blitz. Now, the Mainstone Press of Norwich has published a new limited edition entitled The Story of High Street, which reveals James Russell’s findings.

Lecturer and authority on Ravilious, Dr Alan Powers placed the book in historical context, sharing new and significant insights into its conception, production and publication. Two other experts, Christopher Whittick – the Ravilious archivist at East Sussex Record Office – and Tim Mainstone of Mainstone Press, also made contributions to this engrossing evening.

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