Woking, The Lightbox, The Ingram Collection: Prints and Printmaking, 1 February – 30 April 2011
J M Richards and Eric Ravilious, High Street, first published by Curwen Press, 1938 (illustrated, p. 24-27)
This is an example of the original lithographs, printed for the series High Street issued by Country Life in 1938 in an edition of c. 2000 by J. M. Richards. They have never been reprinted in their original state, since Eric Ravilious’ lithographic plates were destroyed in the Blitz. Ravilious had been well known as a wood engraver for a decade before he started using lithography in 1936. He worked in collaboration with a specialised printing firm, the Curwen Press, for whom he also created wood engravings. The lithographic process allowed for colour printing and a more painterly approach. Ravilious supplied these lithographs documenting the charms of certain Victorian high street shops – some no longer present – such as the Saddler’s and Harness Maker’s shop, or the Fireworks Shop. Other names included the Submarine Engineer, Knife Grinder, Oyster Bar and Wedding Cakes. Ravilious admired contemporary French and Russian children’s books showing everyday life, but while these can be seen as their English equivalent, Ravilious deliberately chose old-fashioned businesses and relished their ornate decoration.