Eric Ravilious was employed as an official war artist in 1940. He served first with Admiralty, but in February 1942 was transferred to the Royal Air Force. This watercolour arose from a period stationed at RAF Clifton near York. The base was used partly for aircraft maintenance and was home to various aircraft. In the drawing’s foreground there is the tail of a Bristol Blenheim light-bomber and in the distance a De Havilland Dominie, from which a snow swept ground crew attempts scrape ice. The freezing temperatures in Yorkshire were noted by the artist who described the county as ‘jolly cold, even with two jumpers and and a greatcoat and a warming parachute’. Ravilious’s charateristically strong sense of pattern and design is clearly evident in this work, the artist sharply contrasting the grounded aircraft’s camouflage with the blank whiteness of the fallen snow.


  • Title: De-Icing Aircraft
  • Creator: Ravilious, Eric
  • Creator Lifespan: 1903 - 1942
  • Date Created: 1942
  • Location: York, North Riding, Yorkshire, England, UK
  • Physical Dimensions: w625 x h466 mm (unframed)
  • Provenance: © IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 1856)
  • Type: drawing
  • External Link: Imperial War Museum website
  • Medium: watercolour

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