Watercolour c. 1932 – 4

Interiors and views through the window are what landscape artists paint when it is too cold and miserable to paint outdoors. The attic in The Attic Bedroom (Eric Ravilious 1903 – 1942) is at the top of Brick House in Great Bardfield where the Bawdens, Edward and Charlotte, and the Ravilious’s, Eric and Tirzah, lived in the early 1930s.

The attic, rather than being a junk room looks like it could be made useable if not comfortable, for one of the many visitors to Brick House. The small window faces out onto the High Street – a telegraph pole is just visible through the overwintering plants. A shaft of late morning light creates highlights on the main feature – the ‘Officers Camp Bed’ in the centre of the room. The ripples in the canvas of the partially opened bed had obviously caught Ravilious’s attention. Surrounding it are some of Edward’s (Bawden was the gardener) tender plants – agaves, succulents and geraniums. In the foreground on the left of the bed is a mysterious box of what could be garden flares. Trunks and a leather hat box are piled up together with an old bag of golf irons and a paddle used for trips on the River Pant, down at the bottom of Brick House garden. Was the lifebuoy hanging beside the window for the safety of capsizing paddlers?

Years later Richard Bawden made a linocut A Splash in the Pant illustrating the Bawdens, Ravilious’s and friends swimming naked in the river.

We are grateful to Brian Webb for this entry.

Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1997.

A Splash in the Pant features next week.