Eric Ravilious
The Vale of the White Horse c.1939

Artwork details

Eric Ravilious 1903–1942
The Vale of the White Horse
Date c.1939
Medium Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 451 x 324 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1940
Not on display

Display caption

Ravilious saw himself as part of a long tradition of English landscape painters, and his use of flat watercolour recalls the work of John Sell Cotman in the early nineteenth century. However, his pictures often subvert tradition as much as echo it. His depiction of the countryside in the rain is familiar, but the low viewpoint makes the image disconcerting. This emphasises the mass of the hill and provides an unusual view of the White Horse cut into the chalk at Uffington in Berkshire, one of Britain’s most ancient sites. It was, perhaps, the surprisingly abstract depiction of the White Horse that attracted modern artists.

September 2004

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