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Edward Bawden RA, The Welsh Polypod deep-sea diving in a bell-jar

The Welsh Polypod deep-sea diving in a bell-jar, 1980

Edward Bawden RA (1903 - 1989)

RA Collection: Art

One of 18 illustrations (plus frontispiece and dust-jacket) made by Bawden for Thomas Hennell's Lady Filmy Fern (written 1930s, published 1980). The book was written by Hennell, as a compilation of plots which he, Bawden and other friends invented during evenings together, but it was put aside after a publisher rejected it. Bawden had finished his pen and ink and gouache designs by 1940, and hid them in his garden during World War II. The book, with Bawden's illustrations, were only published many years later.

Malcolm Yorke summarises the plot: 'The glamorous Lady Filmy Fern has retired from Society and its pressures to live under a bell-jar at the bottom of a cliff, her only neighbour being a deferential carpenter, Mr Virgin Cork. However, their privacy is disturbed by an intrusive paparazzo called the Welsh Polypod, a giant spider with a camera [seen here]. They flee in a floating window box pursued b the villainous spider as far as India and beyond, but after various alarms it ends satisfactorily for all three characters.'

In this final illustration, the Welsh Polypod has taken occupation of the bell-jar in which Lady Filmy Fern previously lived.

Object details

The Welsh Polypod deep-sea diving in a bell-jar
Edward Bawden RA (1903 - 1989)
Thomas Hennel, Lady Filmy Fern; or The Voyage of the Window Box
Place of Publication
Copyright owner

195 mm x 255 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
This image is from a book

Lady Filmy Fern, or, the voyage of the window box / by Thomas Hennell ; illustrated by Edward Bawden. - London: 1980

Click here to view the book

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