Friends + Family

A major new exhibition at the Towner Gallery explores the life and times of the artist Eric Ravilious, through some of his most significant relationships and collaborations.

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Eric Ravilious, The Pharmaceutical Chemist, 1937. Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

Fans of Eric Ravilious will be excited by a new exhibition at Eastbourne's Towner Gallery, which marks the 75th anniversary of the artist’s tragic death during the Second World War. Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, English Artist Designers:1922 to 1942 is a major exhibition which explores some of Ravilious' most important relationships and collaborations.

As well as plenty of amazing work by Eric Ravilious, the show features work by Paul Nash and John Nash, Barnett Freedman, Edward Bawden, Thomas Hennell and Douglas Percy Bliss, all of whom Ravilious was connected to both personally and professionally. The show also highlights many of the (sometimes overlooked) women artists within the group including Ravilious’ wood engraver wife, Tirzah Garwood and Helen Binyon, his lover and confidante. In addition, there are early wood engravings by Enid Marx and textile and wallpaper designs by Diana Low and Peggy Angus.

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Barnett Freedman, lithographed advertisement, Signature No 8, 1935. © Estate of Barnett Freedman

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Wedgwood Ravilious Harvard Boat Race bowl, Piccadilly Circus, 1938. Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

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Eric Ravilious, A Rust-Coloured Ferruginous Light, illustration for The Writings of Gilbert White of Selborne, 1938

Visitors can see over 400 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, engravings, books, ceramics, wallpapers, textiles, as well as a design shop loosely on the retailer Dunbar Hay, which was a London shop that sold works by Ravilious, Marx and others. There's also an authentic representation of a 1930s bookshop which will be filled with nearly a hundred books, featuring book covers and illustrations by Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman, the Nash brothers and Ravilious himself, as well as those who influenced them.

Ravilious was killed while accompanying a Royal Air Force air sea rescue mission off Iceland in 1942. Rarely seen artworks and key artefacts from this tragic trip are also featured in what promises to be one of the summer's must-see exhibitions.

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Eric Ravilious, Trade Card for Dunbar Hay Ltd, 1938. Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

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Eric Ravilious, Woodland outside Florence, 1925. Wood Lea Press

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Edward Bawden, Verandah and Trees, c. 1934. Museums Sheffield

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Diana Low, Designs on Paper, late 1930s. © Estate of Diana Low

Ravilious &  Co: The Pattern of Friendship, English Artist Designers: 1922 to 1942
27 May – 17 September 2017
Towner Art Gallery