Learn more about Ravilious and co's art work and friendship at the Towner Art Gallery's exhibition and a special talk by it's co-curator at The Keep.

A woodcut print of two Victorian gentlemen playing cricket has decorated the front cover of the world respected Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack every year since 1938. The iconic picture, almost as famous as the “cricketers’ bible” that it adorns, was the work of East Sussex painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver, Eric Ravilious.

Ravilious, who grew up in Eastbourne where his parents ran an antiques shop, is perhaps best known for his wonderful watercolours of the South Downs but he also engraved more than 400 illustrations and drew over 40 lithographic designs for books and publications during his lifetime. It was a lifetime cut short, however. In 1942, while working as an official war artist, Ravilious lost his life when the aircraft he was in was lost off the coast of Iceland.

A new major exhibition at the award-winning Towner Gallery in Eastbourne is putting the spotlight on Ravilious’ work, and coincides with the 75th anniversary of his death.

The exhibition includes many of Ravilious’ key works shown alongside both well-known and less seen works by his contemporaries, including work by each artist that has never before been exhibited publicly. As such it examines the relationships and working collaborations between Ravilious and various of his artists friends, including Paul and John Nash and Edward Bawden. And it represents the wide range of media in which the artists worked, from watercolours to woodcuts, lithographic prints, book jackets and illustrations, patterned papers, and wallpaper and fabric design.

An illustrated card from Ravilious to friend and fellow artist Edward Bawden.

An illustrated card from Ravilious to friend and fellow artist Edward Bawden.

Ravilious exhibition and talk event details:

Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship – English Artist Designers, 1922-1942, is at the Towner Art Gallery, Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne BN21 4JJ, until 17 September 2017.

Andy Friend, co-curator of the exhibition and author of the accompanying book, will be discussing his research at a special event at The Keep on Tuesday 27 June at 5.30pm. Tickets, which include a glass of sparkling wine or a soft drink, cost £10 and must be booked in advance. Please call 01273 482349 for further details and to reserve your place. Places are going quickly!

The Keep will also be hosting a talk by artist Carolyn Trant about Peggy Angus and British Women Artists, which will include a display of archive material, on Wednesday 12 July at 2.30pm. Tickets cost £3, advance booking recommended. For more information, please see the events page of their website.

A letter from Peggy Angus to Eric Ravilious sent from her Sussex home.

A letter from Peggy Angus to Eric Ravilious, sent from her Sussex home.