Art gallery acquires two new paintings

AN ART gallery has managed to capture some unique work by a local artist which dates back as far as the 1930s thanks to help from the Art Fund.

Two striking watercolours by Eric Ravilious, called ‘Geraniums and Carnations’, painted in 1938, and ‘Caravans’, painted in 1936, will be on show at the Fry Art Gallery when it re-opens this April.

Ravilious paintings have become famous because many have gone missing and are trying to be re-traced by art lovers across the UK – many are deemed almost priceless and have become true collectors’ items.

Caravans is the very latest edition to the collection and was purchased on the say so of David Oelman who is one of the Trustees of the Fry Art Gallery.

He said: “The work depicts the artist’s temporary home and studio during the early 1930s. This is the first time the painting has changed hands since it was sold by the artist in 1936.

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“The Art Fund gave a substantial grant to help the Fry Art Gallery acquire the work and the watercolour shows the two caravans where the artist lived and worked at the peak of his career, offering an insight into his attachment to the landscape of Sussex.

“The painting has the mysterious, almost supernatural quality of many of Ravilious’ watercolours.”

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The gallery contains a strong collection of Ravilious works and the Great Bardfield group of artists from North West Essex who worked in the mid 20th century.

Director of the Art Fund Stephen Deuchar said: “Caravans is a fascinating watercolour, and its personal subject matter makes it even more powerful. We’re delighted it’s going on public display, helping tie together the lives of some of the artists represented at the gallery.”

Ravilious was born in London in 1903 and attended Eastbourne School of Art, he subsequently enrolled at the Royal College of Art.

He was an official war artist during World War II and was killed in 1942 at the age of 39 on a Royal Air Force rescue mission.

Exhibitions and publications during 2003, his centenary year, established his name firmly in the forefront of 20th century English artists.

‘Ravilious in Essex’ runs from Sunday April 24 to Sunday August 12 at The Fry Art Gallery, Castle Street, Saffron Walden. It is free of charge and open on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 2pm – 5pm (from 11am on Saturdays). Visit for more details.

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