Edward Bawden Collection

Scope and Content

The Collection contains examples of his design work for commercial companies, many commissioned through The Curwen Press for example, Transport for London. The largest section contains works for Fortnum & Mason department store, Piccadilly, London. There are also personal designs, a reproduction of an artwork and family Christmas cards.

  • British Transport Films
  • Robert Walter Cain Ltd [Peter Walker & Sons]
  • Fortnum & Mason
  • Poole Pottery
  • Orient Line
  • Barrow's Stores, Birmingham
  • BBC
  • London Master Printers Association
  • Cassell & Co
  • The Double Crown Club
  • Westminster Bank [NatWest]
  • Faber & Faber
  • Royal Society of Arts
  • London Passanger Transport Board [Transport for London]
  • Curwen Press

Administrative / Biographical History

Bawden (1903-1989) was a British painter, illustrator and graphic artist. He was also famous for his prints, book covers, posters, and garden metalwork furniture.

He first studied at the Cambridge School of Art from 1919 to 1921. This was followed in 1922 by a scholarship to the Royal College of Art School of Design, where he took a diploma in illustration until 1925. Importantly, here he met fellow student and future collaborator Eric Ravilious, both of whom were taught by the influential artist Paul Nash, who referred to them as "an extraordinary outbreak of talent"

By 1925 Bawden was working one day a week for the Curwen Press (as was Ravilious and their former tutor, Nash), producing illustrations for leading accounts such as London Transport, Westminster Bank, Twinnings, Poole Potteries and Shell-Mex. During the Second World War, Edward Bawden served as one of the official war artists for Britain. He made many evocative watercolour paintings recording the war effort in Iraq. His paintings show the unique life led by the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq, particularly their majestic dwellings made of reeds.

After the war he became a member of the Great Bardfield Artists: during the 1950s the grouporganised a series of large 'open house' exhibitions which attracted national press attention. Positive reviews and the novelty of viewing art works in the artists own homes, with thousands visiting the remote village during the summer exhibitions of 1954, 1955 and 1958. As well as these shows the Great Bardfield Artists held several touring exhibitions of their work in 1957, 1958 and 1959.

Having briefly taught design and book illustration at Goldsmith's College from 1928 - 1931, Bawden then went on to teach at the Royal College of Art from 1930 - 1963 (excepting War years). In 1968, Bawden became a tutor at the Royal Academy Schools and Senior Lecturer at Leicester College of Art and Design.

Bawden's work can be seen in many major collections and is shown regularly at the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden and the Cecil Higgins Gallery in Bedford.


By commissioning body. There is also a series of personal items.

Access Information


Other Finding Aids


Item-level description available online as a PDF file http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/inst/bawden_cat.pdf

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Archivist's Note

Description and catalogue compiled by Karyn Stuckey, Archivist, Nov 2009.

Custodial History

Previously labelled as London College of Communication materials, created as a discreet collection, Nov 2009, as Bawden was not a College member.

Location of Originals

Edward Bawden Archive, donated to Cecil Higgins Gallery, Bedford


Powers, A & Green, O: Away we Go! Advertising London's Transport, Eric Ravilious & Edward Bawden, Mainstone Press, Norwich 2006 and Skipwith, P/Mainstone, T : Entertaining à la Carte, Edward Bawden and Fortnum and Mason, Mainstone Press, Norwich 2008

Personal Names