Edward Bawden

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Edward Bawden

"My own wish, would be for all the jigsaw pieces of my
life’s work to be together, not scattered willy-nilly to any
institution that happened to want this bit or that.."

Kew Gardens by Edward Bawden 1936 (via If Charlie Parker)

'Kew Gardens', 1936 (catalogue cover) [via]

Cattle market Braintree (linocut) rennart.co.uk

'Cattle Market, Braintree' (linocut) [via]

Smithfield Market, 1967 Lithograph after linocut from the series 'Six London Markets' osbornesamuel

'Smithfield Market', 1967
Lithograph after linocut from the series 'Six London Markets' [via]

Blue Tractor 1962  (faslondon.com)

'Blue Tractor', 1962 [via]

Snowstorm at Brighton, 1957 (linocut) osbornesamuel

'Snowstorm at Brighton', 1957 (linocut) [via]

Design for Wrapping Paper (Deer and Trees) 1960 (via nationalgalleries.org)

Design for Wrapping Paper (Deer and Trees) 1960 [via]

Farmyard (tapestry) 1950 (V+A)

Farmyard (tapestry) 1950 [via]

Nine London Monuments series 1966 (via cecilhigginsartgallery)

Nine London Monuments series 1966 [via]

Cliffs and Waterfall, Carsaig by Edward Bawden 1950 pencil, watercolour (via fineart.ac.uk)

'Cliffs and Waterfall, Carsaig', 1950.
(pencil, watercolour) [via]

'Derelict Chapel, Minions Nr Uskeard', 1958 - watercolour and pen and ink - (faslondon.com)

'Derelict Chapel, Minions Nr Uskeard', 1958.
(watercolour, pen and ink) [via]

'Wingfield Manor, Derbyshire - The Great Hall', 1979 Watercolour (faslondon.com)

'Wingfield Manor, Derbyshire - The Great Hall', 1979
(watercolour) [via]

H.Q. Coy, Cookhouse on paper, unique Bawden, Edward 1940

'H.Q. Coy, Cookhouse', 1940 [via]

Edward Bawden compilation - Jerusalem Gate Camels + Pilgrims Ass, Don Juan Ship, Kew Palace (2 uknown)

Compilation from a variety of sources including 2 unknown titles and:
'Jerusalem Gate Camels'; 'Jerusalem Pilgrims Ass', 'Don Juan Ship', 'Kew Palace'.

'Life in An English Village' 1949 (flickberry on ebay.co.uk)

'Life in An English Village' a book from 1949
containing sixteen Bawden lithographs as well as line
drawings (from a current UK Ebay auction, seller = flickberry)

[All images © the Estate of Edward Bawden]

Edward Bawden (1903-1989) was born in Essex and attended the Cambridge School of Art and then the Royal College of Art, from where he matriculated in the mid-1920s with a diploma in book illustration.

His friendship with fellow student and noted illustrator, Eric Ravilious, resulted in a number of collaborative murals and they became the centre of a group of artists known as the Greater Bardfield School. Employment with Curwen Press and an advertising agency saw Bawden's innovative and subtly humorous illustration designs appear in the 1930s in major advertising projects for London Transport and Twinings Tea, among many other clients.

During the Second World War, Bawden was an official war artist and was deployed with the British Expeditionary Force in Dunkirk, France; then in the Middle East (Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria) and later in North Africa (Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya and Sudan). He credited this period with maturing his drawing skills and the majority of his artistic output at the time was in watercolour sketches.

In a sixty year career, Bawden produced numerous book and poster illustrations, ceramic, wallpaper, patterned paper and metal garden furniture designs, woodblock, linocut and lithographic prints as well as a sizeable body of watercolour and gouache paintings. He travelled extensively and taught printing and design at a range of institutions.
"During the late 1950's and the 1960's Bawden produced the linocut and lithographs for which he is perhaps best known. He produced large prints on Kew Gardens and Brighton; on Liverpool Street Station and a series on the London Markets. Clear and bold and often graphic in design - reflective no doubt of his training in the Design School of the Royal College - they are representative of lino-cutting at its best. They also push the creative possibilities of the medium as in, for instance, the angular cuts in Snowstorm at Brighton which make abstract the portrayal of a storm whilst at the same time graphically capturing its impact."

Mr Bawden's hope (expressed in the quote at the beginning of this entry) that his artistic output should find a single home has not been achieved in either the real world, nor indeed, online. One of the obvious hurdles in attempting to piece together a survey of an in-copyright artist's body of work is that the vast majority of example images available on the web are too small, with varying degrees of digitisation quality present.

I hesitated making this post because there is always the fear that, in only sampling from websites displaying images that are adequately sized, the entry would not do sufficient justice to the creative diversity of such an extraordinary graphic arts talent. Accordingly, I've attempted a compromise here. Many of the images above are not particularly large and some of them are actually displayed at full size. But, as far as I can tell, this set touches on most of the important themes and styles in Bawden's work.

[**Off topic: for anyone who has only picked up the rss feed this year or who wasn't otherwise aware, a book based on this website (bearing the catchy title of 'BibliOdyssey' - promulgated after twenty two focus groups and two knife fights) was published late last year and can be purchased thusly: Europeans are best off going to the publisher's website and for the rest of the universe there is always Amazon.]

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