Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Winter Blues? Come to a Ravilious Lecture!

If you're fed up of rain, wind and general greyness, why not come along to one of the lectures I'm giving on Eric Ravilious over the next few weeks? You'll get to see lots of lovely pictures - a few will be wintry but I promise not to show 'Wet Afternoon'.

Eric Ravilious, Wet Afternoon, 1938 (private collection)
First up is 'Eric Ravilious: Watercolour, Wood Engraving and Wedgwood' at the Bristol Art Gallery on February 12. I think you may have to be a Friend of Bristol Art Gallery to get a ticket, but maybe you are one already, or would like to become one. The city's municipal art museum has some great exhibitions lined up, including the touring show of Jeremy Deller's 'English Magic' later in the spring, and the fascinating international mixed show 'City Lives', which is on at the moment. Info about joining here.

A slightly different, but equally venerable venue next. At 6.30pm on Weds 12 March I'm teaming up with Alan Powers, author of the excellent new monograph on Ravilious, to talk about the artist at Hatchards, opposite the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. Alan and I will each give an illustrated presentation, leaving plenty of time for conversation.

A couple of days later, on Saturday March 15, I'll be at Towner in Eastbourne, this time lecturing specifically on Ravilious's wood engravings as part of their 'Ravilious Revealed' season. I say 'specifically', but there's always room to sneak in a watercolour or two, and some other examples of his design work.

Eric Ravilious, Farmhouse Bedroom, 1938 (V&A)
Finally, at least for the time being, I'm off to Cambridge, where another great British bookshop, Heffers, is hosting 'Eric Ravilious: A Life in Pictures'. That's probably going to be after Easter. Funny to think that thirty years ago I used to go in there for the latest Iain Banks or Martin Amis. Come to think of it, Heffers was probably where I first encountered Ravilious, in Helen Binyon's memoir.

Hope to see you soon!


  1. Ah, Heffers. Couldn't keep out of it in the early seventies, running in there every couple of months to see if there was a new Len Deighton out. I'll certainly be there for your post Easter gig.

  2. Great Peter - it will be good to see you. I think it's going to be May 1, but watch this space!

  3. Andrea Peace09 February, 2014

    Do you know whether you need to book for the Hatchards event, and if so , how - couldn't find anything online?

  4. Hi Andrea, you may need to book as numbers are probably limited - I would just give them a ring. Thanks, James

  5. Hi James,
    I was at the Towner on Sunday to see the Near Dark exhibition. They had a Ravilious painting – Kirby Hall Fields (1935) – on display that I've not seen before (either on display or in books). It's an interesting piece that bears all the classic Rav hallmarks: a natural landscape with manmade objects (a windmill/pump and wire fencing), painted in the winter and facing the light, with a road/track in the foreground leading the eye into the scene; unpopulated but with a sense of recent human activity. I really liked it. Do you happen to know anything about it?

  6. Thanks James - we almost included Kirby Hall Fields in Ravilious: Country Life but didn't in the end. It's a great painting of a place just outside Castle Hedingham - it looks much the same today, minus the waterwheel. I'm going to see Near Dark next month so will look out for the painting. cheers, James