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Edward Bawden, Illustrator and Designer

Edward Bawden CBE (1903-1989) was born at Braintree, Essex and studied at Cambridge School of Art (1919-1921) and The Royal College of Art School of Design (1922-1925). Here he met fellow student and future collaborator Eric Ravilious; they were described by teacher Paul Nash as “an extraordinary outbreak of talent”.

He lived with his wife, Charlotte, at Great Bardfield, Essex and was an important member, along with Ravilious, of the Great Bardfield Group of artists. During WWII he produced work for the War Artists Advisory Committee, serving in a number of theatres including Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Africa and Europe. He was a prisoner of war of the French Vichy Regime for 2 months after his ship was torpedoed.

Bawden’s work as an illustrator and designer is amongst the most recognisable and influential of the twentieth century. He worked particularly in linocut, lithography and watercolour. He remained in Great Bardfield until his wife died in 1970, when he moved to Saffron Walden until his death in 1989. His work has been re-discovered by a new generation of artists and collectors in recent years and it has featured in numerous exhibitions including ‘The Lost Watercolours of Edward Bawden’ at the Fry Art Gallery (2016) and ‘Ravilious & Co.’ at the Towner Art Gallery (2017).

Watermark Gallery also has work by Edward Bawden’s son, Richard Bawden.