About this lot


Tirzah Garwood (British 1908-1951)

Train Journey
signed 'Tirzah Garwood' (lower right); numbered 9/30
wood engraving
19 x 14cm

With Abbott & Holder, London

Saffron Walden, The Fry Gallery, Long Live Great Bardfield & Love to You All! The Life and Work of Tirzah Garwood (Ravilious), 8 April - 24 June 2012

Frances Spalding, Dictionary of British Art Volume VI - 20th century Painters and Sculptors, Antiques Collectors' Club Ltd., Suffolk, p.195 (ill.b&w)


Often described as a mother and wife, Tirzah Garwood sometimes appears to only exist when discussed in relation to her husband, the esteemed painter, designer and illustrator, Eric Ravilious. Though her work has spent decades growing cold under the long shadow cast by the work of her husband, in more recent years, it has been gaining the recognition and admiration it deserves.

Born Eileen Lucy Garwood, to a wealthy family in Gillingham, Kent, in 1908, Tirzah was raised in Eastbourne, where she attended the local art school before training at Eastbourne School of Art. It was at Eastbourne College that Garwood met Ravilious, then her wood-engraving tutor and whom she described, somewhat uncharitably, as ‘not quite a gentleman’ and ‘tall and thin, with a head that jutted out at the back’. Though Garwood’s parents did not attempt to conceal their disapproval of the working-class Ravilious, by July 1930, the pair had wed, marking the end of Garwood’s incipient career in wood engraving.

Though Garwood would continue in her artistic endeavours during the marriage, experimenting with delicate designs upon marbled paper, she was mostly content to fulfil her domestic and maternal responsibilities. After the tragic and untimely death of Ravilious in 1942, Garwood ventured into oil painting, creating a series of simultaneously naïve, and yet arduously detailed, works. Sadly, Garwood, like Ravilious, died prematurely, in 1951, before she was able to establish her career as a painter.

The present lot is not only rare as it is one of the few engravings produced by Garwood before her marriage, but also, as it is uncharacteristically signed and numbered by the artist. Like her Great Bardfield contemporaries, the wood engravings of Tirzah Garwood possess a potency and power that is belied by the simplicity of form.

Condition report:

Not examined out of the frame. Perhaps some very minor and uniform toning of the paper, otherwise appears in very good, clean condition.

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