Edward Bawden 1903-1989

Commercial artist, printmaker, illustrator, painter of murals and subjects in watercolour. With a strong sense of craftsmanship, he had a ready facility in many techniques. Graphic and linear in quality, his work is often characterised by a narrative of delicate humour. Inspired in watercolour by the techniques of printmaking, he had a feeling for pattern and texture, often working in watercolour upon non-absorbent paper and later applying crayon.

Born in Essex, Bawden attended Cambridge School of Art from 1919 to 1921, and later the Royal College of Art from 1922-25, where his diploma was in book illustration. Here, inspired by Paul Nash, he was introduced to the Curwen Press, and produced posters for the London Underground. His important friendship with Eric Ravillious saw fruit in the Morley College Mural between 1928-29 – a collaborative venture – and watercolour experiments at Great Bardfield in the early 1930s. In 1939 he attempted the commercial printing of wallpaper from linoleum blocks. As an official war artist he travelled widely, and was present at Dunkirk. Subsequent travel – to Sicily in 1952 and Persia in 1966 – contributed to his wide-ranging subject matter. In the 1950s and 1960s he produced many public murals – notably at the Festival of Britain in 1952 and for the P&O liner Oronsay. Teaching periodically from the 1930s, at Goldsmiths’, the Royal College of Art and the RA Schools, he was guest instructor at the Banff School of Fine Art, Canada from 1949 to 50. Exhibiting from 1926, his first solo show was at Zwemmer’s Gallery in 1933. He was also a trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1951-56.

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Edward Bawden Prints

Cattle Market, Braintree

Edward Bawden: Cattle Market, Braintree, 1937

Leadenhall Market

Edward Bawden: Leadenhall Market, 1967