Eric Ravilious, ‘Beachy Head’, watercolour, 1939.
‘Although confessing admiration for only a few artists, he saw and absorbed the work of many, both dead and living, British, European and Asian. The beams of light from the lighthouse here have the elegance of Nevinson’s Bursting Shell, but the lighthouse is only part of the story; it does not dominate the scene but instead appears small and rather human compared to the vast, uneven geometries of the cliffs.
‘Another artist may have stressed the contrast between light and dark. Instead this vision of night on the south coast is alive with points and glimmers of light, like a modern version of an engraving by Blake or Palmer.’
James Russel, Ravilious, P.130.
James Russell is an art historian, curator and author with a special interest in 20th/21st century British artists, and has published a number of books on the art of Eric Ravilious, including Ravilious, Ravilious in Pictures 1: Sussex and the Downs, Ravilious in Pictures 2: The War Paintings, Ravilious in Pictures 3: A Country Life, Ravilious in Pictures 4: A Travelling Artist, and Ravilious: Submarine, the last five of which are published by the Mainstone Press. James can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and also presides over a rather good blog.