Eric Ravilious studied at Eastbourne School of Art from 1919-22 and at the Royal College of Art under Paul Nash. During the Second World War he was appointed an Official War Artist attached to the Royal Marines. Ravilious' work displays some of the disquieting surrealism of Nash's work who was also an Official War Artist. Ravilious also depicted empty landscapes and war scenes. The Tate and the Imperial War Museum hold examples of his work.
The three prints are dark and claustrophobic. Ravilious combines an exact technique with an expressive response to the everyday aspects of war. The restrained use of unnatural colour is disquieting and surreal. Ravilious was killed in action in 1942.
This lithograph is from a set of ten works inspired by the time he spent with submarine crews at the Gosport naval base in 1940. Initially the War Artists' Advisory Committee intended to issue the series but then decided to drop the plan. Ravilious had been very enthusiastic about these works and decided to publish them himself using the Ipswich printer W S Cowell. In the event only a small number of proofs was pulled; they were exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1941 and again, after his tragic death, at the Redfern Gallery in 1944.