Friday, March 26, 2010

Ravilious in Pictures: Sussex and the Downs

I saw this book mentioned in the London Review of Books (my new favorite periodical), and became curious about it. Eric Ravilious was not an artist I had heard of, and there was a magical quality to his work that made me want to learn more. I had to order it from amazon.co.uk, since US distributors didn't seem to have it. And I have to say, it is a gorgeous, elegant book. Each set of facing pages has one of Ravilious's paintings on the right side, while the left provides accompanying text. The author has gone through a great deal of trouble with this simple text. He combines stories from the artist's life with details from his correspondence with historical details with details of how the sites and subjects have changed in present day. It becomes clear that he has not only studied and integrated a great deal of information about Ravilious, but that he has personally visited many, if not all, of the sites in the pictures. Then he combines this into a few brief, pleasing paragraphs that seem the perfect accompaniment to the corresponding picture, in pacing, in tone, and in form. Reading the book was like taking a walk through the English countryside with a friend of the artist. I understand this is the first of a series of books about Ravilious's works, each focusing on a different part of England, and I look forward to the subsequent volumes.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Jesse - so glad you liked the book.

    We have just started work on the second in the series - Ravilious in Pictures: The War Paintings - which should be out by September this year.

    We'll keep you posted.

    Best wishes

    Tim Mainstone
    Publisher

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  2. How wonderful! I can't wait!

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