Illustration Nation

Village Life

The English village, with its local pub and high street, are staples of British country life. After the shock of the war, many artists looked back to traditional small town life in an attempt to get back to normal. These books from the 1930s to 1950s show aspects of contemporary rural life that were looked on to provide a normalising backdrop to post- war Britain.
  • High Street

    On this cover, Eric Ravilious illustrates a specific time and place through lithographic printing. Ravilious has portrayed not only the architectural features of the shops but the variations of character and appearance in each one. Using lithography allows the artists drawn lines to be retained as it requires less pressure to make the makes needed for printing. The medium has been used here to great effect, providing lively pictures to accompany an exploration of the British high street.

  • Life in an English Village

    This cover uses an Oak leaf motif to suggest life in an English village. Using the oak leaf within a pattern diminishes the initial impact of the motif, but ensures its presence in the minds of readers. The overall cover design implies sweetness and tradition by using a Regency style combination of text box and prettily patterned cover. However, this style combines with a bolder, more modern style inside that takes the designs in another direction.

  • Inside the Pub

    The pub has long been seen as a prime location of social interaction in Britain. The pub here is shown empty, but is still portrayed as a welcoming home from home. Adorned with knick-knacks and wood panelling, this is an example of a detailed illustration, where everything from the tankard to the plant pot on the table are helping set the scene and create an atmosphere. The artist has set a welcoming scene, just waiting for someone to walk in.

  • Local Style in English Architecture

    The quaint, detailed illustration of this book cover sets the scene for life in an English village. The hand-drawn illustration and bright, pretty colours presents a friendly, welcoming cover to this book. The use of hand illustration as a technique has allowed the artists to control the composition and include all the elements of English architecture the designer needs. With another method, like photography, this may nothave been possible.

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