Eastbourne’s Ravilious collection now has larger exhibition space in the Towner Gallery


The Towner gallery has recently opened a new, larger Ravilious gallery and collection library, supported by Eastbourne Arts Circle.

Since the 1930s, Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery has developed one of the largest public collections of work by Eric Ravilious as well as extensive archive materials on the artist.

Building upon the success of the gallery’s popular Ravilious Room, which was opened in 2014, the gallery has recently opened a new, larger Ravilious Gallery and Collection Library, supported by Eastbourne Arts Circle.

This new dedicated space will present changing exhibitions of watercolours, wood engravings and ceramics by Eric Ravilious, selected from Towner’s extensive collection of his work.

The new gallery also houses a library of books on artists in Towner’s Collection providing a free to access research and study area for the town’s residents and visitors.

Born in London, Eric Ravilious was a painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. He moved to Eastbourne with his parents at a young age and went on to study at the Eastbourne School of Art, where his early talent was recognised. He was awarded a place in the Design School at the Royal College of Art (RCA), where he studied under Paul Nash, and met fellow students with whom he would form lasting personal and professional relationships, including Edward Bawden, Douglas Percy Bliss, Barnett Freedman, Helen Binyon, Enid Marx and Peggy Angus.

After the RCA he returned to Eastbourne to teach at the School of Art where in 1930 he married one of his students, the talented artist and engraver Eileen Lucy “Tirzah” Garwood.

Ravilious was appointed an official war artist in World War II and received a commission as a Captain in the Royal Marines. He was killed in 1942 at the age of 39 while accompanying a Royal Air Force air sea rescue mission off Iceland that failed to return to its base.

Viewed by many as the home of Ravilious, the Towner holds one of the largest and most significant public collections of works by the much loved and respected Sussex artist. The first acquisitions of Ravilious’ work for the gallery’s collection were made in 1936.