Eric Ravilious ‘Wiltshire Landscape’, watercolour, 1937.
‘Wiltshire Landscape employs the kind of pattern-making seen in earlier paintings of the downland. This paining is carefully composed, with a row of telegraph poles enhancing the sense of distance and, at the same time, adding structure to the rolling hills. The design is as taught as an aeroplane’s wing, yet we still see the sense of bleakness and beauty of the place. Perhaps Ravilious felt the painting was too melancholy, as he later added the red van – a toy, almost – from a photo in his scrapbook.’
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.