Saturday, April 29, 2017

Long Live Great Bardfield - Tirzah Garwood

I like Persephone Books.  I like the immediate recognizability of their covers, but the covers provide no clue to the book inside.

Tirzah Garwood was an artist married to an artist, Eric Ravilious.  She was born in 1908 in Kent, England, into what I believe was an upper middle class family.  Eric was below their social status.  She died of cancer in 1951.  Eric, an Official War Artist, died when the plane he was in disappeared in 1942.

Tirzah met Eric at the art school she attended, where he was a teacher.

Tizrah wanted her grandchildren to know what their lives had been like and she spares no detail.  She tells stories about their friends and their work as artists.  She and Eric loved each other, but Eric had love affairs.  Tizrah was hurt by some of these.  On occasion, Eric would leave Tirzah and live with his lover.  She fell in love with several other men and often consummated those relationships, but not always.  Some of these extra-marital affairs were with partners of their friends.

This book is almost 500 pages and was edited by Eric and Tirzah's daughter, Anne.  I think it's a bit long, but maybe I began to lose interest because I didn't know who most of the people she wrote about were.  There were almost no dates, so it was difficult to orient events with a timeline.  But it's a slice of life from a certain time and of a certain group of people.


  1. I've been meaning to buy this one for ages. We used to live near Great Bardfield. I don't know why artists have to lead such complicated lives, I'm sure it doesn't make them happier. I love Ravilious's art and designs, I only have one of the dinner plates that he designed for Wedgwood. It's hanging on the bedroom wall.

    1. No, I don't think their complicated lives are any richer than those who choose simpler lives. All that emotional fuss would take up too much time and energy! I like both her and Eric's wood cuts. I didn't know he'd designed plates for Wedgwood. I'll have to have a look.