Edward Bawden


Edward Bawden

Edward Bawden CBE RA (1903–1989) was a British painter, illustrator and graphic artist.

During the Second World War, Edward Bawden served as one of the official war artists for Britain. He made many evocative watercolor paintings recording the war effort in Iraq. His paintings show the unique life led by the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq, particularly their majestic dwellings made of reeds. He was also famous for his prints, book covers, posters, and garden metalwork furniture. During an interview, Edward Gorey mentioned that Bawden was one of his favorite artists, lamenting the fact that not many people remembered or knew about this fine artist.

Edward Bawden studied in London at the Royal College of Art with fellow student Eric Ravilious, both of whom Paul Nash referred to as "an extraordinary outbreak of talent". By the late 1920s Bawden was working one day a week for the Curwen Press, producing illustrations for leading accounts such as London Transport, Westminster Bank and Twinings. In the early 1930s he was discovered by the famous Stuart Advertising Agency, owned by H. Stuart Menzies and Marcus Brumwell. At this time Bawden produced some of his most humorous and innovative work for Fortnum & Mason and Imperial Airways.

Bawden lived in Great Bardfield, Essex from the 1930s to 1970. While living at Bardfield he was an important member of the Great Bardfield Artists. This group of local artists were diverse in style but shared a love for figurative art, making the group distinct from the better known St Ives art community in Cornwall, who, after the war, were chiefly dominated by abstractionists.

During the 1950s the Great Bardfield Artists organised a series of large ‘open house’ exhibitions which attracted national press attention. Positive reviews and the novelty of viewing art works in the artists own homes (including Bawden's "Brick House") led to thousands visiting the remote village during the summer exhibitions of 1954, 1955 and 1958. As well as these shows the Great Bardfield Artists held several touring exhibitions of their work in 1957, 1958 and 1959.

After the death of his wife in 1970, Bawden moved to the nearby town of Saffron Walden, where he continued to work until his death. Bawden's work can be seen in many major collections and is shown regularly at the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden and the Cecil Higgins Gallery in Bedford.

External links

* [http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ArtistWorks?cgroupid=999999961&artistid=707&page=1 Edward Bawden art]

Bibliography

Skipwith, P : "Entertaining a la Carte, Edward Bawden and Fortnum and Mason", Mainstone Press, Norwich 2008

Powers, A & Green, O: "Away we Go! Advertising London's Transport, Eric Ravilious & Edward Bawden", Mainstone Press, Norwich 2006


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