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Ravilious & Co : The Pattern of Friendship - the exhibition catalogue from Towner Art Gallery available to buy at Museum Bookstore

Ravilious & Co : The Pattern of Friendship

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'Generously illustrated, beautifully written..a remarkable testimony to the making of art and friendship' - The Artist

A critically acclaimed book looking at the circle of British inter-war artists and designers centred on Ravilious.

In recent years Eric Ravilious has become recognised as one of the most important British artists of the 20th century, whose watercolours and wood engravings capture an essential sense of place and the spirit of mid-century England. What is less appreciated is that he did not work in isolation, but within a much wider network of artists, friends and lovers influenced by Paul Nash's teaching at the Royal College of Art - Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman, Enid Marx, Tirzah Garwood, Percy Horton, Peggy Angus and Helen Binyon among them. The Ravilious group bridged the gap between fine art and design, and the gentle, locally rooted but spritely character of their work came to be seen as the epitome of contemporary British values.

In this richly illustrated catalogue accompanying a touring exhibition, Andy Friend tells the story of this group of artists, exploring how they influenced each other. Many of Ravilious’ key works are shown alongside both well-known and less seen works by his contemporaries and focuses on key moments when the work and careers of these artists coincided, overlapped or was particularly pertinent to the others, such as their time at the Royal College of Art, the 1927 St George’s exhibition, their time spent at Furlongs and Newhaven in Sussex, and their various roles in the Second World War.

One of the Guardian's best biographies of the year. A Spectator art book of 2017. The Times' art book of the year (2017).

  • Author: Andy Friend
  • Pages: 336 pages | 239 illustrations
  • Date published: April 2017
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0500239551 - hardcover
    9780500296769 - paperback
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.5 cm

'The book Friend has written to accompany the exhibition, beautifully produced by Thames & Hudson and including 239 illustrations, is the first comprehensive group biography of those loosely referred to as the ‘Great Bardfield Artists’ –  after the Essex Village where many of them lived from the 1930s onwards' - Apollo Magazine

'Ravilious has been the subject of major exhibitions and monographs and it might seem that there is little more to say about this beguiling figure. But Andy Friend attempts something difficult and useful – a multiple biography of the network of artists in Ravilious’s circle, mostly his fellow students at the Royal College of Art, who came to maturity in the interwar years.' - Literary Review

'a deft example of that tricky genre, the group biography. It weaves together the careers and work of the two principals with those of their friends and contemporaries, including Barnett Freedman, Enid Marx and Thomas Hennell' - Spectator

'One of the best biographies this year was Andy Friend’s Ravilious and Co: the Pattern of Friendship (Thames & Hudson), a lovely account of the artist Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) who reimagined southern England’s landscapes in a series of stunning woodcuts and watercolours that grafted vernacular forms on to a modernist sensibility. The “and Co” refers to the group of friends, including Edward Bawden, Enid Marx, Percy Horton and Peggy Angus, whom Ravilious gathered around him at the Royal Academy in the 1920s. With the encouragement of their tutor Paul Nash, these talented young people worked to bridge the gap between art and design, producing book jackets, illustrations, patterned papers and fabrics. Their images are beautifully captured here.' - The Guardian

'Centred on the figure of Eric Ravilious, the class of 1924 at the Royal College of Art left a distinctive mark on mid-century Britain. The signature of Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Enid Marx, John Nash, Barnett Newman, Diana Low and others could be found across the applied arts: in the design of the fabric of Tube seats, on postage stamps and Faber dust-jackets, on posters for Shell and the transport companies and in innumerable book illustrations, as well as, of course, in evocative paintings. Friend’s study shrewdly and sympathetically charts the wide-ranging influence of this group and their personal and professional relationships' - The Times

'One of the best biographies this year..a lovely account' -The Guardian Books of the Year Round Up

'Shrewdly and sympathetically charts the wide-ranging influence of this group and their personal and professional relationships' - Sunday Times Books of the Year

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