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.