Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)

Tirzah on a cockerel, 1931


SKU: 11531
Wood engraving

Height – 20.5cm x Width – 24.2cm

47 in stock


Simon Lawrence, The Fleece Press

Used on the cover of the Golden Cockerel Press Autumn List, 1931, this flamboyant lady is based on Ravilious’ wife Tirzah. Robert Gibbings had asked Ravilious if he could engrave a device ‘for a fiver and the block which I can send you’. He outlined a design based on a merro-go-round cockerel, suggesting a ‘robust animal with a naughty twinkle in its eye and a comb suggesting a drunken coronet’. Its rider should be a ‘luscious lady’.
The block bears a vague outline nude drawn on the underside. On 11 September 1931 Gibbings wrote to Ravilious explaining that he had done this ‘for the benefit of Pathe who were down here yesterday filming us at work for their Pictorial’. When he had finished the engraving, Ravilious wrote ‘it was fun to do’, hoping that Gibbings would not mind that he had deviated slightly from the suggested design.

Very few of Ravilious’ blocks survive, and this one was never editioned by the artist. 120 copies (110 for sale) have been printed with pleasure by Simon Lawrence at his Fleece Press on vintage Basingwerk Parchment.

Published jointly by the Fleece Press and Liss Fine Art in August 2014.

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Eric Ravilious
1903 - 1942

Born in London he studied at the Eastbourne School of Art and at The Royal College of Art under Paul Nash, where Edward Bawden became a close friend. Initially a muralist (none of which has survived), he became widely known for his luminous watercolours, woodcuts, lithographs ‘ notably his High Street Shops executed by the Curwen Press, (published by Country Life in 1938 in a book with a text by JM Richards, husband of Peggy Angus), ceramics for Wedgewood and graphics for London Transport, as well as glass and furniture design. Much inspired by the South Downs in East Sussex, he was a frequent visitor to Furlongs, the cottage of the artist Peggy Angus. In 1930 he married fellow artist ‘Tirzah’ Garwood, they then moved to rural Essex, at first sharing a house with the Bawdens. An official World War II artist and with a commission with the Royal Marines, he died while with an RAF air sea rescue mission to Iceland. His works are in the collections of numerous British museums and art galleries, the largest holding is at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne.

Selected Literature: Alan Powers, Eric Ravillious: Imagined Realities, Imperial War Museum, London, 2003.


SKU: 11531

Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)

Tirzah on a cockerel, 1931


SKU: 8482

Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)

Thomas Thrave, Undertaker, 1938


SKU: 7681

Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)

Design for The Curwen Press News-Letter, number 6


SKU: 4559

Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)

‘Fire Engineer – ‘High Street’, 1938