Edward Bawden biography in Biographies from the artzine on artrepublic.com
Edward Bawden was a successful and prolific English printmaker, graphic designer, illustrator and painter. He studied at the School of Art in Cambridge (1919-22) and at the Design School of the Royal College of Art (1922-6), where he was a contemporary of Eric Ravilious and was taught by Paul Nash.
Edward Bawden was born in England on 10 March 1903, at Braintree Essex, the only child of Edward and Eleanor Bawden. His parents were Methodist Christians and his father an ironmonger. He was a solitary child and spent much of his time drawing. Whilst at school he began copying drawings of cats by Louis Wain, illustrations in children’s magazines and Burne Jones’ illustrations.
On leaving school in 1919 he attended the Cambridge School of Art where he became interested in calligraphy and in the work of Aubrey Beardsley, Richard Doyle, and William Morris. He received a scholarship to the Royal College of Art to complete a diploma in illustration. At the college he belonged to the circle of friends which included Eric Ravilious, Douglas Bliss and Enid Marx, a group tutored by Paul Nash and famously described by him as representing “an outbreak of talent.”
While still a student Bawden and Ravilious were commissioned by Sir Joseph Duveen to paint a mural at Morley College, London. After graduating, Bawden taught at Goldsmith’s College and the Royal College of Art. He also worked on a large variety of projects for the Curwen Press (where Ravilious and Nash also worked) and subsequently for many other publishers, producing book illustrations and cover designs, posters and advertisements, leaflets and calendars, including commissions for Twinings, Poole Potteries, Westminster Bank and the London Transport Board.
In 1932, Bawden married Charlotte Epton, who had been a fellow-student at the Royal College. They had two children, Joanna and Richard, both of whom became artists. During World War II, Bawden served as an Official War Artist in the British Army, travelling to Belgium, France and the Middle East. He produced mostly water colours at this point. Some of his paintings depict the unique life led by the Marsh Arabs in Southern Iraq.
Photographs of inside Edward Bawden's home © Roy Hammans 2010
It was during the late 1950’s and the 1960’s that Bawden produced the linocut and lithographs for which he is best known. He produced large prints of Kew Gardens and Brighton, Liverpool Street Station, and a series on the London Markets. His later work is notable for its simplicity of line and its wit, and is representative of lino-cutting at its best.
Between 1930 and 1970, Bawden was an important member of the Great Bardfield Artists group of local artists. In 1951 he was appointed trustee of the Tate Gallery (1951-1958) and in 1962 he was appointed Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art. He died on 21 November 1989, aged eighty-six.