Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Dulwich Picture Gallery: Ravilious exhibition

Dulwich Picture Gallery
I had already had a long morning run around the well kept and busy Brockwell and Dulwich parks and after a morning coffee, we headed back to Dulwich to walk around the park before heading to the restaurant at the Picture Gallery. There is a good restaurant outside the gallery and it was sunny enough to eat outside for the first time this year. We managed to negotiate a table outside for a celebration lunch on our wedding anniversary. The gallery is famous for its roof which inspired the shape of the British telephone box although the GPO forgot to put the urns on the telephone boxes.

There was an exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery of watercolours by Edward Ravilious. They were of contemporary scenes in the 1930's and then of the naval war.  We spent much of the afternoon enjoying Ravilious's unique take on contemporary life. His astonishingly prolific career spanned peace and war but he died at the age of 39. At the outbreak of World War II Ravilious was assigned to the Royal Navy as one of the first Official War Artists. It was an inspired choice of artist to capture and preserve the images of wartime.

Over 80 watercolours were on display - including famous works like Train Landscape, Leaving Scapa Flow and White Horse and Train - as well as rarely seen works from private collections. It provided a chronological look at his work between the mid-1920s and his death in 1942. He had been inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock but Ravilious' images rarely contain figures. It was the fascination with ships and trains and his strange perspectives that captured my imagination. Ravilious is considered to be largely responsible for the revival of English watercolour painting and the evidence was here in abundance.

Leaving Scapa Flow
Train Landscape
White Horse and Train

We returned to collect our granddaughter and enjoyed her amazing physical dexterity as she scooted along the pavement and played on the play park equipment. 12 months ago she was learning to walk now she had a sense of balance and motor skills that we could only dream about.  We were also staggered by the daily assimilation of vocabulary. She even told me I was a dinosaur and knew she could get away with it.

Last year at this time she was learning to walk

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