The official combat painter died in 1942 when his plane went down. Now his inspiring life story is the subject of a major documentary
The letter was dated 30 August 1942 and posted from Iceland. Eric Ravilious, one of the official war artists, wrote to his wife, Tirzah (“Tush”), of “an unbelievable lunch of caviar, paté and cheese”. He then described the island’s lunar-like craters before ending: “Would you like a pair of gloves, sealskin with fur on the back? Draw around your hand on writing paper so I can get the size. Goodbye darling. Hope you feel well again.”
The letter is read out by his one surviving child, Anne Ullmann, in Eric Ravilious: Drawn To War, which goes on general release – a rarity for an art film – on 1 July. His “Goodbye darling” was tragically apposite as, three days later, Ravilious’s plane went down over the sea. The letter reached his wife after his death.