Here is just a brief collection of Ravilious Firework pictures. During the war Eric wrote that the naval ship’s gunfire were like fireworks, I haven’t included those war works, but just the actual depictions of festive images.
Eric Ravilious – Fireworks – Mural at the Midland Hotel, Morecambe, 1933
The mural above was painted by Eric Ravilious and his wife Tirzah Garwood for the Midland Hotel in Morecambe. The hotel was designed by Oliver Hill. The murals in the dining room were in two parts, Fireworks and Flags, or Night and Day as they are also known.
The race to complete works in time for ‘a grand opening’ of the hotel would mean the newly plastered walls they were painting the mural on had not been left to dry sufficiently.
The diaries of both Eric and Tirzah tell of how leaks from the roof and cracks in the wall had also hindered the painting. The paint bubbled and chipped off within a year and the mural, only two years old was painted over.
The whole mural was repainted in 1989 for the filming of the Agatha Christie novel – Double Sin. Below you can see Hugh Fraser in front of the repainted mural. It is not precise, but good enough, the original pagoda building’s windows were circles, in the repainting they were rectangles.
Scene from Agatha Christie’s Double Sin, ITV, 1990
The painting below Alan Powers suggested might have been a study for the mural design by Ravilious. I think it shows a young artist in his bedsit flat in London, Bawden made a similar work in his etching, ‘London Back Garden, 1927’. As a friend of mine called it, “a stacked up world with too many people and not enough money”.
All his life, fireworks were an important and special source of inspiration for Eric’s work, and were made use of in many different ways. By now he and Tirzah had moved from Kensington to Hammersmith, but not before Eric had painted an elaborate watercolour of Bonfire Night, as watched from the roof of their house in Stratford Road. †
Eric Ravilious – November 5th, 1933
Below is another good example of Fireworks featured on the Coronation Mug by Ravilious for Wedgwood. The examples show wild fireworks on one side and on the other side firework fountains above the royal heraldic beasts.
A fun fact is that the shop Dunbar Hey were the first to stock the mug and the first customer was Wallis Simpson.
Eric Ravilious – Design for the Coronation Mug of Edward VIII for Wedgwood, 1936
The final of the pictures comes from the book High Street, a series of lithographs by Ravilious with text by J.M.Richards, then husband of Peggy Angus.
Eric Ravilious – Fireworks – from the book High Street, 1938
Given the Second World War was coming I thought the inclusion of Mosley and his Blackshirt’s in the newspaper board highly interesting. If I was penning one of the many books on Ravilious I would say how Mosley and the fireworks were interlinked. That they would predict the horrors of the war to come and the domestic Ajax was a mockery of such views – Thankfully I think posturing after the fact is horse-crap.
† Helen Binyon – Eric Ravilious: Memoir of an Artist, 1983