A SPECIAL event is being held by the Friends of Bridport Literary Festival on Monday.

The event at Bridport Arts Centre at 2.30pm is devoted to recent works published about one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Eric Ravilious. Eric Ravilious, Family and Friends is being held ahead of this year's Bridport Literary Festival in November.

British watercolourist Eric enjoyed acclaim for his many book illustrations and his ceramic designs as well as for his paintings. His son James Ravilious spent all his working life photographing rural life in and around Devon, an archive which has been described as 'one of the great artistic and documentary achievements of photography in the 20th century'. His wife Robin will give a talk on her late husband. Robin and Andy will then join together in conversation with James Crowden about the importance and influence of father and son whose work continues to captivate and enthral.

The event on Monday will be based on three books - Art historian and exhibition curator Andy Friend’s fascinating biography of the circle of British interwar artists and designers Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, The Recent Past – a volume of photographs of rural Devon by James Ravilious and James Ravilious: A Memoir, written by his wife Robin Ravilious.

At 2.30 pm Andy Friend will give an intriguing illustrated talk about Eric Ravilious. The second half of the afternoon will feature an illustrated talk by Robin Ravilious about the photography of her late husband, James, and his unique talent in capturing the fast vanishing traditional life of rural Devon.

Festival director Tanya Bruce-Lockhart said: "We're delighted to be bringing this very special event to Bridport Arts Centre - two illustrated talks about Eric and his son James. The afternoon promises to be a fascinating insight into a highly talented family."

The event will be hosted by writer and poet James Crowden.

Annette Shaw has written a review of The Recent Past and Ravilious and Co: The Pattern of Friendship

One of the most striking images in The Recent Past is a black and white photograph of Exmoor farmer Dick French and his family watching the cup final in 1985. A teenager propped up against the kitchen range, the tension on everyone's faces, a pot of tea just brewed on the table and no television in the actual shot. It could almost be Channel 4's Gogglebox as a still life some 30 years before the reality show.

Many will be familiar with the Bloomsbury Group but they were not the only creative circle of the time. In Ravilious and Co: The Pattern of Friendship, Andy Friend explores the world of interwar artists and designers including Edward Bawden, Paul Nash and Enid Marx, all of whom were closely associated with Eric Ravilious. Friend chronicles the work of a man who was one of the most influential amongst painters, designers, war artists and wood engravers of the twentieth century. Ravilious is well known for his watercolours, often set in the South Downs, that have a gentle, nostalgic Englishness about them. Some are quirky, such as the Train Landscape. From the detail of the upholstery in the carriage, we're drawn deeper through the windows into the passing scenery complete with the White Horse etched on the chalk Downs.

*Eric Ravilious, Family and Friends, Monday, April 16, 2.30pm to 5pm, Bridport Arts Centre, South St, Bridport. Tickets cost £15 to include refreshments and are available from Bridport Tourist Office 01308 424901 or online at bridlit.com