Thursday, 6 November 2014

Edward Bawden Storyteller


On my way to Orso Major to deliver more work, I made a little detour and visited a lovely little exhibition a ten minute walk away that was packed with Edward Bawden gems - many of which I had never seen before. The show is at Morley College and is entitled "Edward Bawden Storyteller".

Bawden was one of the biggest influences on my work as an illustrator and lino-cut printmaker, and what is nice about this exhibition is that it is at Morley College, one of the venues where I used to print my linos. The work of Bawden and his great friend Eric Ravilious is very popular at the moment so I should imagine that this show will be very attended.

There are examples of Bawden's work in a variety of media - advertisement line drawings, linocuts, watercolour designs for stage and murals, book illustration and poster design.

It was good to see his original illustrations and compare these with the finished posters to see what alterations the printers had to make in colour and design to produce the finished posters. It was also interesting to see some tapestry designs and two small colourful tapestries created as a result of a visit to Egypt.

Although the linocuts are my favourites, the etchings are lovely it was great to get up close and examine the superb cross-hatching and line work in them. The concentration required must have been quite intense as the line work is so precise and dense in areas.

There is the large mural of Scarborough which Bawden created from collaged maps and watercolour painting, and also a charming Peepshow panorama of a Scarborough beach scene, and also two documentary films about his life and work. I also liked the personal quirky illustrations he created as greetings cards for friends.

This exhibition is apparently the first major survey of his work since the larger retrospective at the V&A in 1989. I found it very inspiring and well worth a visit. If possible do remember to take the opportunity to go into the main college building to see his wonderful murals in the refectory there as well.

Edward Bawden Storyteller
runs until 26th November
Morley College
61 Westminster Bridge Road