Private Collection

Garwood-Ravilious, Tirzah

(1908 – 1951)

Background to Toy Train, 1950

Oil on canvas, with tin plate toy


The Artists Family; private collection

Literature: Hornet & Wild Rose, The Art of Tirzah Garwood, by Anne Ullmann, The Fleece Press, 2020

The diary of Henry Swanzy records the following on the 10th May, 1950: ‘At home, she (Tirzah) is painting the Georgian doll’s house with special care.’ 

Anne Ullman writes that ‘Nero, the tin-plate engine with blue and yellow livery and matching carriage, was mounted and placed in a deep frame; behind this is the painted backdrop which gives this picture its title, Background to Toy Train. These are the only two pieces of the train set to have survived. It is possible the picture framer may have mounted the train back to front as the pretty lettering Nero is invisible to the viewer. 

We are indebted to Anne Ullman for her assistance. 

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Garwood-Ravilious, Tirzah

1908 – 1951

Eileen ‘Tirzah’ Garwood attended Eastbourne School of Art
(1925’28), where she was taught by Eric Ravilious (1903’1942)
whom she married in 1930. 

She first exhibited in 1927, at the Redfern Gallery, and an early
woodcut shown at the 1927 SWE exhibition received significant
praise in The Times. Such was the originality of her printmaking that
she exerted an influence over Ravilious’ own wood engravings. She
was also commissioned by the BBC in 1928 to illustrate Granville
Bantock’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, and made whimsical but exacting
observational pictures that were popular with children and exhibited
by the Society for Education in Art. 

While recovering from emergency mastectomy surgery in 1942
she wrote her autobiography, Long Live Great Bardfield & Love to
You All
(published posthumously in 2012). After Ravilious’ death
that same year, Garwood remained in Essex until her remarriage
in 1946. She was again diagnosed with cancer in 1948 and died
in 1951. In 1952, a memorial exhibition was held at the Towner
Gallery in Eastbourne.


Tirzah Garwood-Ravilious
The Crocodile