Eric Ravilious was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. Our art collections include his famous ‘Submarine Series’.
Eric Ravilious was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. Born in London and brought up in Sussex, Ravilious won a scholarship to study at Eastbourne School of Art in the 1920s where he became friends with Edward Bawden. He later studied at the Royal College of Art where he was taught by Paul Nash.
In February 1940, Eric Ravilious became one of the first artists to be appointed by the War Artists Advisory Committee. His first assignments took him to the Royal Naval barracks in Chatham, Sheerness, Grimsby and Scapa Flow. During this time the artist sailed to the Arctic Circle on HMS Highlander.
The submarine series
In August 1940 Ravilious moved to the Royal Navy shore base at Gosport, Portsmouth. He spent time on board L-class submarines, drawing the interiors of these extraordinary environments.
From this experience came the 'Submarine Series’, a group of lithographic prints produced in 1941, and perhaps his most coherent group of wartime works.
An untimely death
In 1942 Ravilious was reassigned to the RAF. That summer, he went to Iceland where his aircraft was lost during a rescue operation on 2 September. He was the first of three official war artists killed on active duty during the Second World War.
Using our collections for research
The collections at Royal Museums Greenwich offer a world-class resource for researching maritime history, astronomy and time.
Entry to the National Maritime Museum is free, open daily from 10 am