Eric Ravilious was born in Eastbourne, Sussex; he studied at Eastbourne School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. Ravilious taught for a time at the Royal College and at the Ruskin Drawing School in Oxford. His talents for design were many: he produced wood engravings for book illustrations, designed pottery and engraved glass, and through each of these media he insinuated a wry innocence, a sense of slight strangeness that characterises all of his work. In his watercolours he brought his 'innocent eye' to English rural subjects, bending rules so to speak to produce delicate fantasies out of well known entities such as greenhouses and watering cans. At the outbreak of war in 1939, he was appointed an Official War Artist, and produced an outstanding body of work from then until his death three years later in an air-crash off Iceland. The bizarre quality of war is made to look almost normal in Ravilious' strange juxtapositions of rainbows and mooring posts, dazzle-camouflage and piebald skies, coastal defences and stars appear to shoot from the ground rather than from the sky. A major retrospective of his work was shown at the Imperial War Museum, London in 2003.

Further reading:
Freda Constable, The England of Eric Ravilious, Scolar Press, London 1982
Helen Binyon, Eric Ravilious: memoir of an artist, Lutterworth, Guildford 1983
Eric Ravilious, Submarine Dream: lithographs and letters, edited by Brain Webb, introduction by Peyton Skipworth, The Camberwell Press, London 1996
Anne Ullmann, Ravilious at war: the complete works of Eric Ravilious, September 1939-September 1942. The Fleece press, Upper Denby 2002
Alan Powers, Eric Ravilious: Imagined RealitiesPhilip Wildon Publishers, London 2003
Eric Ravilious in Print: Books, Wood Engravings, Lithographs and Ceramics, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2004, introduction by Gaye Smith and Stephanie Boydell