Until 31 August, 2015
This exhibition isn’t startling, but oh gosh, is it a pleasure – and you only have until Monday to see it. We adore the work of Eric Ravilious, one of Britain’s foremost 20th Century artists (he was also a designer and book illustrator), who died tragically young while working as a war artist when his plane crashed somewhere in the Arctic in September 1942. So for us, seeing his work at this new exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery—one of our favourite art galleries in London (built in 1811 by Sir John Soane, it was Britain’s first purpose-built public art gallery, and it has a wonderful permanent collection including works by Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Veronese, Poussin, Canalleto and Rubens)—is a pretty perfect afternoon out. If you go on a sunny day, you can have lunch or a coffee outside in the Gallery’s lovely gardens, and the gallery’s shop is also particularly good. If you have enough time to nip across the road into Dulwich Park, you will be rewarded by the sight of Conrad Shawcross’s new sculptures, Three Perpetutual Chords, which were unveiled on the 18th April, and serve as a counterpoint to Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture, Two Forms Divided Form, which was stolen from the park in 2011.
The Ravilious exhibition, meanwhile, focuses primarily on his work as a watercolorist and is organised thematically rather than chronologically, which works well and means you see his war and peace-time works next to each other, rather than in separate rooms as is often the case. Included among the 90 paintings (there are also some wonderful lithographs, including his masterly 1941 Submarine Series, and wood engravings on show) are famous works such as Westbury Horse, 1939, and Train Landscape, 1940, which you may well be familiar with. But there are also many treasures—interiors, flower paintings, rarely seen portraits—that have been unearthed from private collections, so do make sure you see them while they are on show. This exhibition isn’t huge or overwhelming, but we could have stayed looking at these watercolours for hours and hours.