Eric Ravilious, Tea at Furlongs, 1939
At Furlongs, Ravilious was a guest of Peggy Angus, whom he had met when they were students at the Royal College of Art. She had left London in 1933 to teach in Sussex and found a tenant farmer willing to let her rent a cottage with a spare room, next door to a ploughman who appears in some of Ravilious's paintings. Life there, Russell writes, 'involved a good day's work, scratch meals and long evenings of music and song. Water had to be hauled out of a well and amenities consisted of a primitive stove for cooking and an earth closet in the garden.' Furlongs is quite a long walk from any main road but my parents went to look at it this summer and have sent me the photographs below. Apparently the current owners are building a new wall, perhaps prompted by the increase in visitors as Ravilious's popularity continues to grow. This cottage has an important place in British art history as the inspiration for some of Ravilious's best known work, like Train Landscape and The Wilmington Giant. 'Furlongs', he wrote, 'altered my whole outlook and way of painting, I think because the colour of the landscape was so lovely and the design so beautifully obvious...'