Edward Bawden Biography

Edward Bawden

Edward Bawden working in his studio by Eric Ravillious

In the collection of Royal College of Art

Edward Bawden CBE RA (Born 1903 – 1989)

Edward Bawden, a Modern British Artist. Known for his painting. illustrations and graphical art, prints, book covers, posters, and garden metalwork furniture. Bawden taught at the Royal College of Art, where he had been a student, worked as a commercial artist and served as a war artist in World War Two.

He was a fine watercolour painter but worked in many different media. He illustrated several books. In 1928 he produced the tiles for the London Underground that were exhibited at the International Building Trades Exhibition at Olympia in April 1928.

At that time he was commissioned by Sir Joseph Duveen, at the rate of £1 per day, to create a mural for the Refectory at, London along with Ravilious and Charles Mahoney. The mural was unveiled in 1930 by former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, who was at the time Leader of the Opposition

By 1930 Bawden was working one day a week for the Curwen Press, as was Ravilious and their former tutor, Nash, They produced illustrations for leading accounts such as London Transport, Westminster Bank, Twinings, Poole Potteries, Shell-Mex, the Folio Society, Chatto & Windus, and Penguin Books.

During the Second World War Bawden served as an official war artist, first with the British army in France and then, following the army’s evacuation from there, in the Middle East.

Edward 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.

He was admired by Edward Gorey, David Gentleman and other graphic artists, and his work and career is often associated with that of his contemporary Eric Ravilious.