Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)

The original Nonesuch Press Electro plate for Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne. 1938


SKU: 10550

Height – 7cm
Width – 12cm

Depth: 3cm

2 in stock


Simon Lawrence
Drawn to Nature, Gilbert White and the Artists, 2021, Pallant House Gallery
Drawn to Nature, Gilbert White and the Artists, by Simon Martin, Introduction by David Attenborough, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 2021

The original Nonesuch Press Electro plate for Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne, 1938

Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne was printed by The Nonesuch Press’s in Glasgow in 1938. This is the original electro, (copper plated stereo) from which the illustration was printed. An electro is a plated metal block used by printers where the edition numbers were too high for printing from a woodblock. Even a stereo had a limited lifespan, (the successive printing eventually resulting in loss of definition) – copper was used to increase the usable life of the block.

Since its publication in 1789, Gilbert White’s Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne inspired generations of artists, writers and naturalists. From Thomas Bewick to Eric Ravilious and Clare Leighton, many artists’ depictions of animals, birds and wildlife have illustrated White’s celebrated book, together providing a microcosm of natural history illustration from the eighteenth century until today.

White’s magnum opus was the subject of a publication and exhibition, written and curated by Simon Martin in 2021

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Eric Ravilious
1903 - 1942

Born in London he studied at the Eastbourne School of Art and at The Royal College of Art under Paul Nash, where Edward Bawden became a close friend. Initially a muralist (none of which has survived), he became widely known for his luminous watercolours, woodcuts, lithographs ‘ notably his High Street Shops executed by the Curwen Press, (published by Country Life in 1938 in a book with a text by JM Richards, husband of Peggy Angus), ceramics for Wedgewood and graphics for London Transport, as well as glass and furniture design. Much inspired by the South Downs in East Sussex, he was a frequent visitor to Furlongs, the cottage of the artist Peggy Angus. In 1930 he married fellow artist ‘Tirzah’ Garwood, they then moved to rural Essex, at first sharing a house with the Bawdens. An official World War II artist and with a commission with the Royal Marines, he died while with an RAF air sea rescue mission to Iceland. His works are in the collections of numerous British museums and art galleries, the largest holding is at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne.

Selected Literature: Alan Powers, Eric Ravillious: Imagined Realities, Imperial War Museum, London, 2003.


Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)
Wallpaper Design: Butterball Crab Apples on a Plate, circa 1924
Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)
Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)
Floods at Lewes
Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)
Butterball Crab Apples on a plate, design for wall paper, circa 1924
Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)
Tirzah on a cockerel, 1931
Eric Ravilious (1903 - 1942)
The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta, 1933