|Tirzah and Eric Ravilious painting a mural at the Midland Hotel, Morecambe|
|Still going strong in 2012|
I was at the Central Library in Bristol the other day - it has a wonderful art history collection - and on asking about Ben Nicholson in the Reference section was presented with a trolleyful of books, each one progressively bigger and glossier and less comprehensible. His first wife merited a solitary book.
Personally, I think Winifred's best work is beautiful. I also think the importance of intimate relationships is underplayed in conventional art history, which tends to consider artists in terms of similar artists and via the art historical theories of the day. An artist is only 'important' if they fit within the narrative - but you don't need me to tell you that...
|Winifred Nicholson, Bonnie Scotland, 1951 (Tullie House)|
Eric Ravilious was virtually invisible ten years ago and is now a central figure in the alternative story of 20th century British art that Alexandra Harris has championed in her 2010 book 'Romantic Moderns'. The exhibition of his watercolours which opens at the RWA in Bristol next week will be the third show in consecutive years, each one given little attention in the national press but attracting unprecedented numbers of visitors nonetheless.
|Tirzah Garwood, The Train Journey, 1929-30|
His work also features in a second exhibition opening this month, at the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, but he is not the main subject. 'Long Live Great Bardfield!' is a show about Rav's wife, Tirzah, and the creative force behind it is Anne Ullmann, their daughter and the author/editor of several stunning books about them. Over the past few years she's been editing her mother's autobiography, 'Long Live Great Bardfield, & Love to You All', which is about to be published by the Fleece Press.
|Eric Ravilious, Train Landscape, 1939 (Aberdeen Art Gallery)|
|Tirzah Garwood, Orchid Hunters in Brazil, 1950 - there's a story to this...|
'Eric Ravilious: Going Modern / Being British' is at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, from Saturday March 10th.
'Long Live Great Bardfield!' opens at the Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, on March 31st.
Wood engravings by Eric Ravilious are included in an exhibition of work from the archive of the Society of Wood Engravers, showing until March 23rd at Manchester Metropolitan University.
'Ravilious in Pictures: A Travelling Artist' will be launched at the RWA on March 10th, 12-2pm