‘Its awfully hot below when submarines dive and every compartment small and full of people at work. However, this is a change from destroyers and I enjoy the state of complete calm after the North Sea - there is no roll or movement at all in submarines, which is one condition in their favour - apart from the peculiar submarine smell, the heat and the noise. There is something jolly good about it, if only I can manage it, a blue gloom with coloured lights and everyone in shirt and braces. People go to sleep in odd positions across tables.’
Initially the ‘Submarine’ series was proposed in early 1940 and envisaged as a portfolio of six lithographs of war subjects, notably submarines. Ravilious obtained an estimate to produce an edition of 50 from the Curwen Press but the War Artists Advisory Council were unable to commit the necessary funds and the project was put on hold. Ravilious eventually published the project himself in 1941 working with the Ipswich printers W. S. Cowell. Publishing the works himself allowed him greater scope for the project, thus the increased number of works.
In this lithograph we see the submurged submarine. Below, a hand is poised, pencil at the ready, over a page of sketches of an anchor, compass, diving helmet and hydroplane operator as well as the gun tower of an L-class submarine with an open hatch.
|Image & Paper Size||27.5 x 31.5 cm|
|Collections||Fry Art Gallery; Imperial War Museum; V& A|
|Literature||Webb, Brian, ‘Eric Ravilious Submarine Dream Lithographs and Letters’, Camberwell Press, 1996; Carey & Griffiths, ‘Avant Garde British Printmaking 1914- 1960’, British Museum Publications, 1990, pp. 144-147; Russell, James, ‘Ravilious Submarine’, Mainstone Press, 2013, pp. 52-53|