7
7
Eric Ravilious
NEWHAVEN HARBOUR 
Estimation
80 000120 000
Lot. Vendu 175,000 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
7
Eric Ravilious
NEWHAVEN HARBOUR 
Estimation
80 000120 000
Lot. Vendu 175,000 GBP (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern & Post-War British Art

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Eric Ravilious
1903 - 1942
NEWHAVEN HARBOUR 
signed; titled on the reverse
watercolour, pencil and crayon on paper
45.5 by 58cm.; 18 by 22¾in.
Executed circa 1935.
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

Provenance

Zwemmer Gallery, London, where acquired by Mrs. Beryl Sinclair, and thence by family descent to the previous owner
Their sale, Sotheby's London, 2nd November 1983, lot 103where acquired by the present owner

Exposition

London, Zwemmer Gallery, Eric Ravilious, 5th - 29th February 1936, cat. no.9;
New York, World's Fair, British Council Exhibition, 1939, cat. no.107;
Toledo, Toledo Museum of Art, Contemporary British Art, 1942, cat. no.74;
Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery, Eric Ravilious: Memorial Exhibition, 1948, cat. no.15;
Sheffield, Graves Gallery, Eric Ravilious, 1903 - 1942An Exhibition of Watercolours, Wood Engravings, Illustrations, Designs, February - March 1958, cat. no.95;
Colchester, The Minories, Eric Ravilious, 29th January - 19th February 1972, cat. no.31, with tour to Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Morley Gallery, London and Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne (as Lighthouse at Newhaven).

Bibliographie

Freda Constable, The England of Eric Ravilious, Scholar Press, London, 1982, illustrated pl.11;
Alan Powers, Artist & Designer, Lund Humphries, Farnham, 2013, p.94, illustrated pl.112, p.97.

Description

'They evolved in the decade before the outbreak of war in 1939, a new method of painting in water-colours of great delicacy and definition, using a technique of under-painting and elaborate superimposed washes and stipples…' (Lawrence Binyon, English Water-Colours, A. & C. Black, London, 1944, 2nd Edition, pp.169-170). So wrote Lawrence Binyon, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, of the generation of inter-war artists including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, and John Piper. Introduced to the cool landscapes of 18th Century watercolourists like John Robert Cozens, Francis Towne and John Sell Cotman largely through Binyon’s efforts, Ravilious and his contemporaries were inspired to transform watercolour into a distinctly modern medium.

Ravilious grew up in Sussex, in Eastbourne, where his parents had an antiques shop, studying first at the Eastbourne School of Art (1919-22) and then the Royal College of Art (1922-25), where he met his life-long friend Edward Bawden. Though Ravilious and Bawden lived and worked in Great Barfield, Essex, it is with Sussex that Ravilious’s work is indelibly linked. His childhood association with Sussex was reignited by an invitation in 1934 from the artist and polymath Peggy Angus to stay in her shepherd’s hut, Furlongs, on the South Downs. In August of the following year, Bawden suggested a painting trip to Harwich but, uninspired by their initial choice, they settled upon a stay at the Hope Inn at Newhaven, a harbour town within walking distance of Furlongs. Newhaven was distinguished by a distinctive breakwater and seawall with lighthouses perched at each end. Ravilious’s predilection for the nautical was shared by many of his contemporaries, including Paul Nash, Tristram Hillier, Ben Nicholson and Edward Wadsworth, as a theme replete with unusual objects, organic and man-made, found in unexpected juxtapositions.  

A monumental storm engulfed Newhaven upon Ravilious’s arrival and he ventured out to the lighthouse at the end of the jetty: 'The spray from the breakers crashing on the weather-side of the breakwater was a quite extraordinary sight – I got very wet and think now it was almost a dangerous walk out there, but worth it. The scene was like one of those extravagant and formless pictures of Turner’s' (Eric Ravilious, quoted in Helen Binyon, Eric Ravilious Memoir of an Artist, The Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 1994, p.80). At least three views of the harbour specifically were included in Ravilious’s second solo exhibition with the Zwemmer Gallery in 1936, including the present work Newhaven Harbour (cat. no.9), Channel Steamer Leaving Harbour (cat. no.32), and Lighthouses at Newhaven (cat. no.18), later used by Ravilious as his contribution to the Lithographs for Schools project. All three were exhibited at the World Fair in New York in 1939, and Newhaven Harbour still bears the label from this trip across the Atlantic on the brink of the Second World War.

Newhaven Harbour is designed with deliberation: the lighthouse, one of Ravilious’s preferred motifs, is seen through a lattice of ropes, draped across the composition. Echoed verticals of the lighthouse, a further lighthouse, signalling mast, and picket fence punctuate the horizon of the seascape, and are intersected by the diagonals of ropes. A complex internal structure of interlocking shapes is precisely fashioned: such consideration underscoring the latent strangeness present in Ravilious’s most memorable imagery. Unusually for Ravilious, a solitary figure is included, surveying the harbour from the lighthouse’s lower viewing platform, binoculars in hand. His face is featureless, as was Ravilious’s custom for the rare occasions he populated his scenes. Despite, or perhaps enhanced, by the presence of a lone figure, the work retains Ravilious’s customary quietness and stillness – cloudless blue skies replace the stormy introduction to Newhaven. Jan Gordon, critic for The Observer, wrote of Ravilious’s 1936 exhibition that Ravilious combined 'decorative wit…with a curious aloofness' (Jan Gordon, quoted in Alan Powers, Eric Ravilious Artist & Designer, Lund Humphries, Farnham, 2013, p.80). In Newhaven Harbour it is the ‘decorative wit’ that brings about the ‘curious aloofness’, producing a picture of crisp architectonic structure and alluring reverie.

Modern & Post-War British Art

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Londres