Modern British Art by Eric Ravilious: Design for The Curwen Press News-Letter, number 6 |


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Eric Ravilious:
Design for The Curwen Press News-Letter, number 6

Unmounted (ref: 7681)

The original wood engraving for the Curwen Press News-Letter No. 6 printed on Basingwerk Parchment,by Simon Lawrence, housed in a letterpress booklet, with a Jemma Lewis' marbled paper Fireworks cover.

8 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (22.2 x 14.6 cm)

Tags: print design

Under the management of Harold Curwen and later Oliver Simon, The Curwen Press (founded by the Reverend John Curwen in 1863), was at the vanguard of the design revolution that saw expression in British printing in the early 20th century. Many well-known graphic artists, including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Claud Lovat Fraser, Paul Nash and Barnett Freedman worked with Curwen. The Press's output included books, posters and published ephemera.  At the height of its power, in the 1930's it issued a News- Letter.....

In 1977 the Tate Galley held an exhibition called Artists at Curwen: A Celebration of the Gift of Artists' Prints from the Curwen Studio.

One often overlooked aspect of Eric Ravilious' engraved work is his lettering, and this engraving displays his finest skills.  Arranged elliptically around a flattened star, it is at once confident and commanding, to which the original pale blue watercolour colouring adds an extra sparkle.

Curwen Press records state that  the block was ordered on 7.11.33 and completed a fortnight later, on the 21st November.  They paid six guineas for it and the New-Letter was issued in April 1934, price two shillings. The blue colouring is preseumed to have been hand-painted at the Press, although the Curwen stencilling department had been closed two years previously.

The frontispiece was printed from the original Curwen electrotype, while the engraving was printed from the wood now printed in a first ever edition of 120 copies by Simon Lawrence at The Fleece Press. 

We are grateful to Simon Lawrence and Lucy Carter for assistance.

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