Magazine article The Spectator

Cast a Cool Eye on Life, on Work

Magazine article The Spectator

Cast a Cool Eye on Life, on Work

Article excerpt

James Ravilious' photographs of North Devon landscapes are in the English lyric tradition. Son of Eric Ravilious, he gives us pictures that have all the poignancy of the commonplace found in his father's work. Those who respond to Bewick, Palmer and Nash or who have looked in vain for the vanished England depicted in a Griggs drawing or a Betjeman film should find what they seek in these pages.

A Comer of England is a collection of photographs taken over a period of 17 years. The canvas was a scrap of country covering the 20-mile span of the valleys of the Taw and Torridge, where Ravilious recorded a way of life that has hardly changed for hundreds of years. Most of the pictures commissioned were to form part of the Beaford archive, to complement a collection of older photographs. The best are black and white. Early morning mist on the River Taw, Five Barrows under snow, orchards, the shadows of tombstones, wood-ricks, all have a brooding, almost spooky quality. …

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