Edward Bawden, Storyteller

November 25, 2014

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

There’s a lovely little exhibition in the gallery attached to Morley College in London featuring the work of Edward Bawden. The windows feature hares and tortoises based on his linocuts for Aesop’s Fables (1970).

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

You get a sense of the diversity of output from this marvellous artist. From film posters, book covers and commercial commissions for the likes of London Transport, Shell-Mex, Westminster Bank and Twinings.

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden had a long association with Fortnum & Mason, designing catalogues, memorabilia and other ephemera.

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

This tin was created for Romary’s of Tunbridge Wells

 

 

 

 

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

In 1928, Bawden along with Eric Ravilious and Charles Mahoney was commissioned by Sir John Duveen to paint murals in the refreshment room of Morley College. These took inspiration from the theatre to mark the college’s association with the nearby Old Vic, ranging from The Tempest to Dr Faustus. Bawden recalled “Elizabethan plays, Shakespeare, Olympian gods and goddesses, Punch and Judy, a Miracle play and a doll’s house”. He commented “Gosh! What a riot it was!”

Sadly all the beautiful work was destroyed by an enemy bomb which ruined most of the college in 1940. Bawden offered to paint new murals in the new college building after the war – by which time, Ravilious was dead – and chose The Canterbury Tales as inspiration. They were completed in 1958, assisted by his son, Richard, and one of his students, Justin Todd.

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

They can still be enjoyed each day in Morley College’s refectory. We were lucky to chat to Elaine Andrews, the college librarian, a source of much information about both sets of murals. The college houses artworks by Bridget Riley, Maggi Hambling, Oskar Kokoschka and John Piper, all available to view but some in rooms which may be used for classes or meetings.

Edward Bawden, Storyteller closes on 26th November. It’s at Morley Gallery, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT

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Edward Bawden Storyteller Morley College Eric Ravillious Murals Canterbury Tales Aesop Fables Exhibition

 

 



3 responses to “Edward Bawden, Storyteller”

  1. david oelman says:

    This was a fantastic exhibition which was very popular but a very short run. You can see a lot of the work and more examples of Bawdens work at the Fry Art Gallery!

  2. Egon says:

    I heartily recommend a visit to the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden. It has a fantastic collection of artwork and ephemera related to Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and the Great Bardfield artists. Also very impressed by the knowledge and friendliness of the volunteers who staff the gallery.

  3. Lovely to get a mention on your blog! We all enjoyed the Bawden exhibition so much at the College – we kept popping back in for another look and missed it badly when it closed. Do contact me again if you want any more information about the murals – always pleased to help. Good to see comment on the Fry Art Gallery – a largely undiscovered gem in the lovely town of Saffron Walden.

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