Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. He grew up in Sussex, and is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs. The countryside of Sussex and the Essex were his main subjects. As he disliked both bright sunlight and the colour green he preferred to paint under grey or cloudy skies, and in winter. Ravilious was a brilliant watercolourist, lithographer and designer, but above all was a wood engraver. It was in this medium that he first found artistic expression in the early 1920s, and over the next two decades produced some of the finest engravings of the age.
As well as woodcuts, he engraved more than four hundred illustrations and drew over forty lithographic designs for books and publications during his lifetime. In 1936 he was invited by Wedgwood to make designs for ceramics, many of which were used on commemorative mugs for the coronations of Edward V111, later revised for the coronation of George V1, and again reworked for Elizabeth 11 in 1953. He also undertook glass designs for Stuart Crystal, graphic advertisements for London Transport and furniture work for Dunbar Hay. Ravilious was appointed as an official war artist in December 1939, and was given the rank of Honorary Captain in the Royal Marines and assigned to the Admiralty. He died, at the age of 39, when the aircraft he was on was lost off Iceland in 1942.
In this painting ground crew clear snow and ice off a DH Dragon Rapide standing on a runway. The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide is a 1930s short-haul biplane airliner developed and produced by British aircraft company de Havilland. Capable of accommodating 6–8 passengers, it proved an economical and durable craft, despite its relatively primitive plywood construction. Upon the outbreak of the World War II, many of the civil Rapides were impressed into service with the RAF and Royal Navy. Referred to in military service by the name de Havilland Dominie, the type was employed for radio and navigation training, passenger transport and communications missions.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1249: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)