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10 October 2016

Two women in a garden

Next week we publish Long Live Great Bardfield: the Autobiography of Tirzah Ravilious. There has been a good deal of advance interest in this book and no wonder because it is superbly written. But, as well, it is a fascinating document in the history of feminism:  it describes how a brilliant female artist subjugated her work to that of her husband (Eric Ravilious). Subjugated might seem a harsh word, but it is not a complete exaggeration. However, the book is definitely not meant as a rant and even in the Biannually we have merely quoted a critic saying that Tirzah’s talents ‘have been virtually extinguished by the steadily growing fame of Ravilious’s achievements.’ But now is the time for a bit of feminist rant where Tirzah is concerned. First of all, the widely reproduced painting of her (on the right) and Charlotte Bawden sitting in the garden. It’s called Two Women in a Garden, it’s by ‘Rav’ (as he was sometimes known to his friends) and it’s 1934. And what is Tirzah doing? She is shelling peas!

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