Eric William Ravilious

British, b.1903, d.1942

Decoration To ‘Five Eyes’

  • Presented by Rex Nan Kivell, 1953
  • Wood engraving
  • 252 x 325mm
  • 94/129
  • 1926

Eric Ravilious was an extremely talented artist and designer who excelled at numerous artistic mediums, including wood engraving. He was a prolific illustrator for the private press movement, and produced many titles under the much- admired Golden Cockerel Press imprint thanks to his close friendship with Robert Gibbings (who at one point owned the press). Ravilious was no purist, however, shifting with ease between the worlds of high art and commercial design.

Alongside his stunning wood engravings, he was happy to design transfer illustrations for china and even furniture. Decoration to ‘Five Eyes’ was based on the poem ‘Five Eyes’ by Walter de la Mare and was used to illustrate a piano music roll, while Doctor Faustus conjuring Mephistophilis was to be used as an illustration for a Golden Cockerel Press book, Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, which unfortunately went unpublished.

The Golden Age 18 December 2015 – 1 May 2016