Lindsell Church, Essex. No. 1, 1956
Edward Bawden RA (1903 - 1989)
RA Collection: Art
Edward Bawden's watercolour of Lindsell Church, Essex evokes the atmosphere of a stormy day with occasional shafts of light breaking through the clouds onto the medieval building. Lindsell is situated near Great Bardfield, where the artist lived, and this church provided the focus for a series of watercolours, drawings and prints that he produced in the late 1950s. After the First World War, Great Bardfield had become an artist's colony and similar views of the same site were also painted by other local artists including John Aldridge and Walter Hoyle.
Born in Braintree, Essex, Bawden studied at Cambridge School of Art and later the Royal College of Art in London where he was taught by Paul Nash. As a student he befriended Eric Ravilious whom he described as his 'kindred spirit' and the two later moved to Great Bardfield where they and their families shared a house. Bawden's distinctive poster designs for Shell and London Transport, along with his many book illustrations, brought his work to a wide public. Equally skilled as a designer, draughtsman and painter, the artist nevertheless considered watercolour landscape painting as his most important pursuit and from the 1930s onwards he increasingly favoured Essex subjects such as Lindsell.
Bawden chose this pastoral scene as his 'Diploma work', as a representative example of his painting, to present to the RA following his election as an Academician in 1956. By the 1950s Bawden's figurative style was deemed less fashionable but he remained in demand as an illustrator and designer and continued to teach new generations of artists at the Royal College of Art.
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