Gwen Raverat


Gwen Raverat

Gwendoline Mary "Gwen" Raverat née Darwin (26 August 188511 February 1957) was a celebrated English wood engraving artist who co-founded the Society of Wood Engravers in England.

Biography

Gwen Darwin was born in Cambridge in 1885, the daughter of George Howard Darwin and his wife Maud du Puy. She was the granddaughter of the naturalist Charles Darwin. She married the French painter Jacques Raverat in 1911 and they lived in Vence, near Nice in the south of France, until his death from multiple sclerosis in 1925. They had two daughters, Sophie (born 1919) who married the Cambridge scholar Mark Pryor and Elisabeth (born 1916), who married the Norwegian politician Edvard Hambro.

She illustrated a number of books both with her distinctive line drawings and characteristic wood engravings, and prints from her original wood blocks are much sought after today. Before they moved to France, they were part both of the Bloomsbury Group and of Rupert Brooke's Neo-Pagans.

In 1927, her brother-in-law Geoffrey Keynes asked her to provide scenic designs for a proposed ballet drawn from William Blake's "Illustrations to the Book of Job" to commemorate Blake's centennial; her second cousin Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote the music to the work which became known as "Job, a masque for dancing". The miniature stage set which she built as a model still exists, housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Eventually she settled back in Cambridge where, in 1952 she published her classic childhood memoir "Period Piece" which is still in print 53 years later. [The [http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1904555128 Customer Reviews on Amazon] explain why the book remains so popular.] In 2004, her grandson, William Pryor edited the complete correspondence between Jacques, herself and Virginia Woolf which was published as "Virginia Woolf and the Raverats".

Darwin College, Cambridge, occupies both her childhood home and the next door Old Granary where she lived for the last years of her life. The college has named one of its student accommodation houses after her. [ [http://www.dar.cam.ac.uk/accommodation/ Darwin College: Facilities ] ]

References

*"Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood," first published in 1952 by Faber & Faber. ISBN 1-904555-12-8 (hardcover) ISBN 0-571-06742-5 (paperback)

Notes

ee also

* Darwin-Wedgwood family

External links

* [http://www.broughtonhousegallery.co.uk/raverat_index.html Broughton House Gallery Archive]
*NRA|P23864


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