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Edward Bawden: Home and Abroad

9th February 2019 to 26th January 2020

Edward Bawden Gallery

Free Entry

British artist and designer Edward Bawden’s work (1903-1989) is the focus of the new 'Home and Abroad' exhibition at The Higgins Bedford.

This exhibition focuses on how Bawden’s immediate surroundings and overseas travels influenced his art.

Bawden often chose home subjects which included the villages, churches and country lanes of his native rural Essex. London, where Bawden spent much of his working life, was another inspiration. He celebrated its landmarks and monuments, its parks and gardens, and its bridges and stations. Liverpool Street Station was the subject of one of his earliest copper engravings, and it re-appears in Bawden’s monumental Liverpool Street Station linocut (1960), with its intricate wrought iron ceiling which in his view was ‘one of the wonders of London’.

Bawden embarked on his first trip abroad to Italy aged 22, an experience which he recalled, ‘gave me the biggest shock of my life’. He returned there during the Second World War, while serving as an Official War Artist, a role which also took him to many parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Bawden’s wartime observations and experiences influenced his artistic style and technique. It gave him a new visual repertoire, which he continued to use in his post-war work and left him with a taste for adventure, which meant many more trips abroad.

While teaching in Canada (1949-50), log cabins, coniferous forests and jagged mountain tops also featured in Bawden's work. A 1962 Portugal visit resulted in ‘Edward Bawden In Portugal’, a lithograph series of Portuguese towns which were printed in Motif magazine. Bawden used few colours and a mixture of collage, linocut and drawing to create these stunning and original compositions.

Cllr Sarah- Jayne Gallagher, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said “Edward Bawden donated the contents of his studio to the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery during the 1980s. This exhibition in the heart of the town centre is a great opportunity to see and experience his work, and is completely free to visit.”