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London by Edward Bawden

• Exhibition showcases prints and advertising designs by the English painter, illustrator and graphic artist Edward Bawden
• The exhibition highlights Bawden’s unique vision of the nations capital
• London by Edward Bawden is drawn from the vast collection of 3,000 works at The Higgins Bedford; the largest of its kind

London by Edward Bawden, a new exhibition at The Higgins Bedford, showcases the artist and designer’s unique and iconic vision of the city.


Opening on the 22nd May 2014, the exhibition includes examples of Bawden’s work for London Underground, his large, structural linocuts of London monuments and London markets, and images of the Horse Guards and Kew Gardens. These remarkable images offer insight into how Bawden’s relationship with the city developed throughout his long career. 


A rural Essex man at heart, Bawden’s first taste of London life was as a student, living in a bedsit with Eric Ravilious in Redcliffe Road, Kensington. From this ‘manure bed of genius’ Bawden produced work that was to make him one of Britain’s most sought after graphic artists. Whilst Essex was never far from his mind, the city became his true focus appearing in adverts for Twinings, Westminster Bank and the London Underground, as well as in his own linocuts and engravings.


Bawden’s work returned time and again to certain parts of the city. Liverpool Street Station was the subject of work both from the 1920’s and the 1960s but it was Kew Gardens that was to have the most lasting appeal. Bawden’s earliest work depicting Kew is a manuscript, acquired by The Higgins Bedford with assistance from The Art Fund in 2010, entitled A General Guide to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Spring & Easter 1923. The unique unpublished manuscript is a mock-up guide book for Kew Gardens dedicated on the first page to his friend, the artist, Eric Ravilious. The book features many humorous characters enjoying the gardens, and an early example of Bawden’s characteristic illustrated maps.


This exhibition delves deep into the archive held at The Higgins Bedford. It allows us to view the capital city through Bawden’s eyes. London by Edward Bawden is drawn from the vast collection of the artists work held at The Higgins Bedford. The collection was donated during the 1980s from the contents of his studio. 


Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Bedford Borough Council said: “Bawden’s collection provides a fantastic insight into the works of one of the country’s most popular graphic artists. This exhibition provides an invaluable personal insight into Bawden’s vision of work and life in London.”


This exquisite exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks, more information on these can be found at www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk

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