Gwen Raverat

British, b.1885, d.1957

Threshing

  • Presented by Rex Nan Kivell, 1953
  • Wood engraving
  • 160 x 182mm
  • 94/120
  • 1930

Gwen Raverat was a celebrated author and book illustrator, and a major figure in the British wood engraving movement of the twentieth century. The granddaughter of Charles Darwin, she trained at the Slade School of Art (1908-11) and after she married the French painter Jacques Raverat in 1911 they both joined the Bloomsbury Group and Rupert Brooke’s Neo-Pagans. The family later settled in France, but after the death of Jacques in 1925 Gwen returned to Cambridge, where she had spent her childhood. Raverat often worked outdoors and took an impressionistic approach to the wood engraving medium, creating works full of varied textures. Many of her works depicted agricultural scenes, such as this impressive view of hay being stacked using a traction elevator. The fine leaves of the surrounding trees and the soft piles of hay are contrasted with the strong lines of the machinery.

(Turn, Turn, Turn: A Year in Art, 27 July 2019 – 8 March 2020)