A retrospective exhibition of Gwen Ravarat hosted by Winds of Change Art Gallery, Winchcombe.
The first surprise at seeing the wood engravings of Gwen Raverat, grand-daughter of Charles Darwin, is their small size. With some barely bigger than a postage stamp their detailing is quite extraordinary. The subjects are often the everyday scenes that she saw around her; of hill and wood and field. People are shown going about their daily routine whether it be at work or at rest.
Her earlier work appears heavier and less intricate but this is deceptive for there is still much to see: the longer you look the more you become aware of the energy and life that Raverat brings to her engravings. Developed further in later work, elements of fluidity and light are brought to the fore.
A Back View, 1935, showing an old countryman leaning on a five bar gate is perhaps one of the simplest pieces on display. However, look deeper and you become aware of the smoke from his pipe and barely perceptible on the horizon, a trio of low barns – or are they?
The Pigeon, 1939, brings into play all the elements discussed above with flowing fabrics and graceful lines. Then you see other subjects, the resting lurcher, the discarded hat and finally the tiny bird, giving the title to the piece. Finer in detail still, Tapestry Song, 1934, is crammed with hidden images.
Raverat is rare in that she can depict the human form, animals, flowers and buildings all to the same level of perfection. The engravings on display are all original prints, crafted in her lifetime, many of which are signed; all are authenticated. The exhibition continues until 26th October (2013).
Additional Note: to view/purchase prints and originals visit the Raverat Archive by clicking here
The Winds of Change Art Gallery is located in the Cotswold town of Winchcombe. Visit their website by clicking here