|Eric Ravilious, Commander... Looking through a Periscope, 1941|
Most of the ten pictures show submariners at work or rest aboard their craft, while others focus on the kind of quirky subjects Ravilious enjoyed: the arcane equipment used by mine disposal experts or a diver preparing for the water.
The full set was on show at the Royal West of England Academy during their recent Ravilious show, and I was interested to learn from observant museum staff that the lithos were the most popular works, particularly among more youthful visitors. They are in some ways quite unlike his landscapes, being bold in colour and focused on people rather than place, but you can see the same economical designer's eye at work. Compare one of these interiors with, say, Barnett Freedman's interpretation of a similar scene, and you can see how much detail Ravilious has stripped away in his quest for clarity.
|Barnett Freedman, Interior of a Submarine, watercolour, 1943 (Tate)|
|Eric Ravilious, Diving Controls No.1, 1941|
From what I've seen of the preliminary design ideas, 'Ravilious: Submarine' is going to be stunning, illustrated not only with the Submarine Series and preparatory drawings but also with examples - some rarely seen - of lithography from Britain, Russia and France. Having said that, I better get back to work!
'Ravilious: Submarine' will be published by the Mainstone Press in October.
St Bride's Print Library will be hosting an evening devoted to early/mid 20th century lithography on December 5th. I'll be talking about the Submarine Series, while Alan Powers and Joe Pearson - an authority on Noel Carrington and the Puffin Picture Books - will discuss other fascinating aspects of the subject. More info on this to follow...