New book by James Russell out November 2013
Although a brilliant watercolourist, inventive lithographer and talented designer, Eric Ravilious (1903-42) was above all a wood engraver. It was in this demanding 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. And what an age it was! Starting shortly before World War One, a succession of talented artists and designers explored a medium whose most famous British proponent, Thomas Bewick, had died almost a century earlier.
In his lifetime Ravilious was acknowledged as a modern master of wood engraving, and for Ravilious: Wood Engravings we have selected illustrations that show the evolution of a remarkable talent. Ravilious thrived on the limitations imposed by the medium, squeezing entire scenes into the tiniest vignette. Some of the engravings have the mysterious quality of his watercolours, while a wry humour animates others, such as his portrait of publisher Robert Gibbings being carried off by a giant cockerel. Running through the book is a sense of the pleasure Ravilious took in his work, which he approached with great skill and a light heart. While staying with his parents in Eastbourne he would cut his blocks with their canary fluttering around his fingers, and subsequently he always whistled when he worked.
When Ravilious died on active service as a war artist in 1942, at the age of 39, he had already achieved remarkable success. His short but spectacular career is described in a full-length introduction, which also sets his achievements in the context of the interwar years. Accompanying each illustration, meanwhile, is an extended caption designed to illuminate the engraving in an informative and entertaining way. In a manner familiar to readers of Ravilious in Pictureswww.themainstonepress.com, author James Russell sets out to discover the places that inspired Ravilious, explore the remarkable books he illustrated and meet the people he portrayed. Ravilious: Wood Engravings is both a collection of beautiful, surprising pictures and an entertaining portrait of a wonderful artist and his world.
Hardback | 80 pages | 24.6 x 18.9 cms | ISBN ISBN: 978N0957666504 | RRP: £20.00 
To order a copy please email:THE MAINSTONE PRESS


Ravilious Submarine by James Russell


Ravilious: Submarine celebrates the creation of a remarkable series of prints, made by Eric Ravilious during the dark winter of 1940/41. Rare was the artist who descended into the depths to portray the gloomy, cramped interior of a naval submarine, yet it is not just the subject matter that makes the Submarine Series so powerful; the medium too is extraordinary. One of the most difficult and demanding of the printmaker’s arts, auto-lithography enjoyed a golden period in Europe between the wars, and in Britain this series represents a pinnacle of achievement.

In this lavishly illustrated 72 page book James Russell explores the sequence of events that gave us Ravilious the lithographer, a story that introduces Soviet revolutionaries in Moscow, Russian émigrés in Paris, Jewish immigrants in the East End of London and a host of visionary printers, publishers and designers.

All ten lithographs in the Submarine Series are shown, each accompanied by a short descriptive essay which explores the scene depicted, introducing people and giving insights into the strange, dangerous life of a submariner during World War Two.

We are also excited to show a selection of the artist’s exquisite preparatory drawings, most of which are reproduced here for the first time. Including both watercolours of submarines and drawings made for a proposed children’s colouring book, these are not just part of a process but are themselves works of art which convey in an immediate way the tension and drama of life aboard a wartime submarine.

Publication Details

Published by The Mainstone Press, Norwich
Release date: 11 February 2013
Quarter cloth hardback / 72 pages
ISBN: 978-0955277795
RRP: £35

For further details contact:
The Mainstone Press
Norwich NR9 5PR
T: 01362 688395
W: www.themainstonepress.com



Autumn Newsletter out now


Ravilious at St Bride's

Here's the poster for the annual fundraising event for the St Bride's Library in London - a wonderful institution and full of books on design and typography. This year we will be looking at Ravilious and 1920's and 30's lithography. The date is Wednesday, December 5 and our three speakers are Joe Pearson, Alan Powers and James Russell. The event will also see the launch of Ravilious: Submarine by James Russell, the latest publication by the Mainstone Press.

Other forthcoming events and talks on Ravilious can be found here: http://www.themainstonepress.com/?Events.html


Competition Time...

As it's wet and perfect weather for curling up inside and reading a book (or four) we thought it was time to have a Ravilious in Pictures competition...

Our books are written in Bristol, designed in Shoreditch, printed and bound in Woolwich, and sent out from The Mainstone Press in Norfolk. But who can tell us which county is depicted on the cover of our latest book - Ravilious in Pictures: A Travelling Artist by James Russell?

To win a complete set of Ravilious in Pictures books, please email your answer to The Mainstone Press by Friday 4 May and we will send the lucky winner (drawn out of the hat with the correct answer), the Ravilious Quartet. Good luck!


Over the moon to get a mention in Design Week!
News in Pictures | Design Week


Ravilious Exhibition: Going Modern / Being British opens in Bristol's RWA this Saturday.


Ravilious in the Rain - Thanks to Emily Rhodes for the first review of our new book Ravilious in Pictures: A Travelling Artist by James Russell. Click here to read...


The Ravilious Quartet
And then there were four! The final book in the Ravilious Quartet has now been printed and bound and will shortly be available from all good bookshops, museums and design emporia... The official launch will be held in Bristol at the Royal West of England Academy on Saturday 10 March. Come and meet the author James Russell and see the opening of a new exhibition: Eric Ravilious: Going Modern | Being British.


Ravilious in Pictures: A Travelling Artist is the fourth in a series of books celebrating the life and work of Eric Ravilious (1903-42). This volume features twenty-two pictures, each of which is both an exquisite painting in its own right and part of something bigger: the artist’s idiosyncratic study of Britain in the 1930s.

Although Ravilious often completed paintings in his studio, with the help of pencilled notes, his pictures invariably began as a sketch of a real place, at a particular time of day – often dawn, or soon after – and in whatever weather conditions the moment offered. The quest for new subjects took Ravilious around Britain and beyond, on a decade-long journey of discovery. Inspired by places as diverse as Dungeness in Kent and the Welsh valley of Capel-y-Ffin, Ravilious also sought out unusual subjects, like the Greenwich Observatory, and strange perspectives, such as the view from inside the Belle Tout lighthouse. Following his habit of painting in series he drew the ports of Bristol and Rye, Newhaven and Le Havre; he painted lifeboats and pilot boats and the picturesque interiors of dockside inns. Each painting depicts a particular aspect of a fascinating place and each is accompanied by a concise essay which explores the location further, introducing characters and stories hidden behind the scenes. Taken as a whole, the twenty-two watercolours in this volume provide a uniquely compelling portrait of Britain in the years before World War II.

Author: James Russell
Published by: Mainstone Press
ISBN: 978-0955277788
Available from: 1 March 2011


It's competition time! Culture 24 are running a competition to win a signed copy of the new Paul Nash book by James Russell. Go on, have a go! Click here


Join us for the Friends of St Bride Library’s special winter event – a unique chance to hear talks by leading experts on Paul Nash, followed by mince pies & wine and an opportunity to buy books and and prints from fine press publishers. Nash’s paintings of both world wars are iconic. His landscapes express a profound sense of place and show a painter wrestling with the challenge of being a British artist drawn to the modern movement. Speakers include David Heathcote, Alan Powers, James Russell, and Brian Webb. See website for details.


Paul Nash in Pictures: Landscape and Dream by James Russell will be launched at Henry Sotheran's in London on Tuesday 15 November (6-8pm). The address is No 2 Sackville Street (just off Piccadilly) W1.
Come and meet the author, see the new book and have a glass of wine...


New Limited Edition from The Mainstone Press:
Chalk Figure Near Weymouth by Eric Ravilious.
See The Mainstone Press website for details...