Drawn to War (2)

We went to a screening of Eric Ravilious: Drawn to War at the Gate Cinema – for me, a second viewing. It’s just as good second time round. I was better able to appreciate the extraordinary wealth of documentary material. Ravilious’s daughter, Anne Ullmann, is recorded on film and has obviously done a huge amount to keep memory of Ravilious alive, encouraging one of his mistresses, Helen Binyon, to publish a memoir in 1983, publishing her mother’s autobiography, Long Live Great Bardfield, and finding a cache of watercolours under Edward Bawden’s bed. Then, his granddaughter, Ella, works at the V&A and there is even a twitter account for Ravilious. Rather amazingly, there is cine film of Ravilious’s wedding, as well as Ravilious’s own letters. And, although he died when he was only 39, he had already accomplished a huge amount, including his work for Wedgwood and book illustrations, alongside his work as a war artist.

There was discussion afterwards as to why he is so popular, but regarded more as a decorative than fine artist. Alan Bennett was good on how his very popularity makes him seem not quite a real artist. Anyway, I recommend the film very much.

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4 thoughts on “Drawn to War (2)

  1. joan says:

    We went to see it at Stratford Picturehouse tonight and enjoyed it. We turned up expecting it to be a very small audience but it was in fact probably two thirds full. We were a bit bewildered by the number of children in the audience – happily munching large buckets of popcorn. People round us were speculating about whether Ravilious was on the school syllabus or had they stumbled into the wrong screen. Just before the film started all became clear when one audience member revealed himself to be the film’s editor (evidently it was edited in Stratford) and introduced his young son as the voice of the young Ravilious in the film. So there are a group of young people in Stratford who have had a very detailed introduction to the world of war artists!

  2. Pam Roberts says:

    We are going to see the film on Thursday at the Gate in Notting Hill. Worked with James Ravilious on an exhibition at the RPS in Bath in 1998 & see a lot of the brilliant Ella Ravilious at the V&A. What a family.

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