Born in 1903, Ravilious was an English painter, illustrator and printmaker. Ravilious attended the Royal College of Art, where he studied under Paul Nash. He began his working life as a muralist, first coming to notice as an artist in 1924. He went on to become one of the best-known artists of the 1930s. He was also the leading light of wood-engraving in England at that time, and undertook ceramic designs for Wedgwood.

The High Street Lithographs

Ravilious completed twenty-four different designs for the series ‘High Street’. The lithographs were drawn by the artist and printed at the Curwen Press and then published by Country Life Ltd. in 1938.

Ravilious began work on his ‘High Street’ lithographs in 1935 following a suggestion from Helen Binyon that he do an alphabet of shops. He deliberately sought out odd shops with special and often Victorian visual appeal as inspiration for these prints. The New Statesman wrote that the designs were ‘so gay and vivid…that they surprise the reader like the shops themselves when they light up on a foggy morning’.