The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 11, 2017

April 11, 1908

Tirzah Garwood (April 11, 1908 to March 27, 1951)was a British artist whose woodcuts are among her best known work. Here is a playful example, titled, "Cat Into Wife," and dated to before 1930.

That is her husband in the woodcut, Eric Ravilious. He was also an artist; they met, in fact, when she was a student of his at the Eastbourne School of Art.

Her ODNB article elaborates:

Since 1928 Garwood had lived in Kensington and, while enjoying a new independence, she had become romantically involved with Eric Ravilious. They married on 5 July 1930 at St John's presbyterian church, Kensington, London, despite the initial disapproval of Tirzah's family. The couple moved first to Stratford Road, Kensington, and shortly afterwards to 48 Upper Mall, Hammersmith. Between 1931 and 1934 Garwood and Ravilious divided their time between London and Great Bardfield, Essex, where they shared Brick House with the artists Edward and Charlotte Bawden. Ravilious's watercolour Two Women in a Garden (1932; Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden) depicts Tirzah and Charlotte in the kitchen garden of Brick House. Together the two couples decorated the house in a highly imaginative manner, involving marble patterns and wallpapers derived from brass rubbings. Having always loved natural history—several engravings of insects are among her best—Tirzah was delighted to live properly in the country. In 1933 she worked with Ravilious on a series of murals for the Midland Hotel, in Morecambe, but otherwise focused on making patterned papers using a sophisticated form of marbling. These she sold at London design shops, such as The Little Gallery and Dunbar Hay. She also engraved patterns for end papers and book covers for the Golden Cockerel Press.

Neither she nor her husband had long lives. He disappeared in a war setting, and she was ill. Her conduct was improbable:

Her close friend—the artist and writer, Olive Cook—recalled how, in the last years of her life, Garwood ‘amazed her friends by her determination, courage and unquenchable gaiety’ ....

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