life’s work to be together, not scattered willy-nilly to any
institution that happened to want this bit or that.."
Lithograph after linocut from the series 'Six London Markets' [via]
(pencil, watercolour) [via]
(watercolour, pen and ink) [via]
'Jerusalem Gate Camels'; 'Jerusalem Pilgrims Ass', 'Don Juan Ship', 'Kew Palace'.
containing sixteen Bawden lithographs as well as line
drawings (from a current UK Ebay auction, seller = flickberry)
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.
- All of the 'via' links above have examples of Bawden's work but will require searching at the site as I didn't save the direct links (they are mostly galleries, worthy of visiting anyway). As I've already intimated, there are no 'definitive' sites for Edward Bawden and the only one that specifically warrants a mention is the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery which is the closest approximation to a devoted website and includes both a chronology and bibliography, as well as images and biography.
- A couple of others worth visiting are: one and two, but there are plenty more sites around displaying varying numbers of Bawden illustrations.
- Thanks very much to Thomas for the suggestion!
- UPDATE (April 2012): see Marshall Colman's blog post on Bawden.
[**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.]