I’ve been a big fan of Eric Ravilious the multi talented illustrator, designer, war artist and painter since first seeing his watercolours of the South Coast in the Eastbourne Towner gallery. Having grown up by the sussex countryside and beaches, I really felt that he was able to capture something of the spirit of the place. The rolling hills, the ancient, timeless feel of the land. But it wasn’t until recently, seeing his retrospective at the Dulwhich picture gallery and finally treating myself to ‘High Street’ his study of the different shops of his time, that I realised he’s one of my favourite illustrators and a big source of inspiration to me.
His style is very distinctive, he creates texture and colour, building them up in layers. He is selective with his line work, using it to draw your attention, embellish and highlight important parts of the image. In ‘High Street’ Ravilious creates one lithograph for each shop and the architectural historian J M Richards writes an accompanying description, who works there, what they sell etc. As the book was first published in 1938 there is quite an unusual selection of stores, a theatrical prop shop, a submarine store, a taxidermists. It’s very hard to pick a favourite but I think my current is the the illustration of the ‘Public House’ (above).
All images taken from ‘High Street’ without permission, Illustrations by Eric Ravilious.