Edward Bawden (1903-1989) was a printmaker, painter, illustrator and designer. He studied and later taught at the Royal College of art, served as a war artist in WW2 and worked extensively as a commercial artist for companies including London Transport, Fortnum and Mason, Shell-Mex, the Folio Society and Chatto and Windus. Aside from the years he spent in France, the Middle East and North Africa while serving as a war artist, and later visits to Canada and Ireland, Bawden rarely travelled far from home, but found inspiration in the fields and farms of his native Essex, at the seaside, and in classic London scenes: Kew Gardens, the Royal Parks, the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral, and the iron-and-glass monuments to Victorian engineering such as Liverpool Street station and the markets in Spitalfields and Smithfield.
This book celebrates England as represented by Bawden in 85 works held in the V&A’s collection, including prints, posters, drawings, paintings, murals and advertising material. The illustrations include such early pieces as his poster Map of the British Empire for an exhibition in 1924; his mural English Garden Delights, designed for the Orient Line Navigation Company in 1946; illustrations for books including Good Food, The Gardener’s Diary and Life in an English Village; advertising work for London Transport, Shell and Fortnum & Mason; the poster Lifeguards, created to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953; and a varied selection of linocuts and watercolours.
As this book demonstrates, it was England, with its quiet landscapes, its pleasures and pastimes, its history and ceremonies, its traditions and recreations, that was the source of Bawden's finest and most engaging work.