Artist Tirzah Garwood-Ravilious: Semi-detached Villas, 1945

Artist Tirzah Garwood-Ravilious (1908–1951): Semi-detached Villas, 1945

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 Privately held

Tirzah Garwood-Ravilious (1908–1951):
Semi-detached Villas, 1945
Framed (ref: 7044)

Mixed media, collage
39.5 x 38 cm

See all works by Tirzah Garwood-Ravilious collage/photomontage farms/domestic animals houses 1.Master Designs 49 pictures Fifty Works by Fifty British Women Artists 1900 - 1950 Garden Museum RCAGardenMusuem Rediscovering Women Artist WOMEN Works for Paris

Provenance: Kenneth Rowntree; thence by descent; private collection

Literature: Hornet & Wild Rose, The Art of Tirzah Garwood, by Anne Ullmann, The Fleece Press, 2020

During her recovery from a mastectomy for primary cancer and closely followed by the death of my father, the artist Eric Ravilious, in 1942, my mother, Tirzah, wrote an entertainingly direct and perceptive autobiography of their life together. She was thirty-four and the mother of three young children. As a student, she had excelled as a wood engraver. She now rediscovered the creativity that had lain virtually dormant throughout her married life. She began painting in oils, but also produced a series of captivating images of local Essex houses and shop fronts, (1944–1949). She soon developed her own distinctive style, where each one was lovingly recorded with a mixture of print and collage which she assembled and sometimes constructed into a 3D model in a shallow box frame. This early example, Semi-detached Villas, has the barge boarding and paint work picked out in ochre against the dark brown house, and the deep wooden frame painted white gives an added spatial dimension to the image set back behind the glass. A quantity of sketches of architectural details suggest that all her subjects were from real life. The key to the success of Tirzah’s series of houses is that as a painter might set about portraying a human face, so Tirzah, by isolating the subject and stressing the features that most interest her, brings out the individuality that had originally attracted her to her subject. This picture was once owned by her friend, Kenneth Rowntree.

Commentary by Anne Ullman. Ullman took a Negotiated Art Degree which included a module researching the lives and work of her parents, Tirzah Garwood and Eric Ravilious. She has published her father’s letters and her mother’s autobiography and is currently working on a book about her mother’s career.

Exhibited: Sanctuary, Artist-Gardeners, 1919-39, Garden Museum, London, 25th February – 5 April, 2020

Literature: Christopher Woodward, Sanctuary: Artist-Gardeners, 1919–1939, published by Liss Llewellyn, 2020

Only one needlework picture from the early 1930's survives.  It shows a walled garden with beds of cabbages and marrows, and a young woman watering a row of runner beans; the hose circling the lawn snakes around her feet and sends out a fine spray of satin silk water.  The embroidery is reminiscent of the work once made by sailors on long sea voyages, and as such has a very English feel; as so often in her work, Tirzah demonstrates an innovative approach to a traditional craft.  Her use of modern imagery and unusual everyday subject matter, a fashionable artistic trend in the 1930's, now giving this needlework picture a very evocative flavour of the era.