Garwood-Ravilious, Tirzah

(1908 – 1951)

The Crocodile


Wood engraving 

6 2/5 x 4 9/10 in. (16.3 x 12.5 cm) 

4 in stock


Merivale Editions; Simon Lawrence

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 71.

In 1925, at the age of 17, Tirzah Garwood enrolled at Eastbourne School of Art, where, under the
instruction of her young tutor, Eric Ravilious, (whom she would marry five years later), she excelled in
wood engraving. Her satirical scenes of bourgeois life in 1920’s Britain explored themes such as bathers
on Eastbourne beach, window cleaners and plump ladies shopping in Kensington. By 1927, she was
already exhibiting and attracting attention for her work, and received prestigious commissions from
the BBC and the Curwen Press. The Crocodile and The Dog Show were commissioned in 1929 by Oliver
Simon for a projected but never completed calendar to have been published by the Curwen Press. Both
engravings, however, were shown at the English Wood Engraving Society’s 1929 exhibition to critical
acclaim. The Queen (25th December 1929) compared the puckish humour’ of Garwood’s work to that
of Honoré-Victorin Daumier, describing The Dog Show as wicked’ and The Crocodile as that amusing bit
of observation’, while Apollo (January 1930) wrote, Miss Tirzah Garwood is, as one expects it of her by
now, intensely amusing, especially in The Dog Show’.

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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