As a naive lad from Dagenham, I attended the University of Wales Aberystwyth at the end of the seventies. It was suggested to me by my knowledgeable (and I think desperate) tutor Alistair Crawford, that I write my final dissertation on the British artist Edward Bawden(1903-89). I was barely literate at the time (some might say there has been no improvement)and the dissertation is best forgotten. However, I was lucky to meet and correspond for a while, with a famous and influential illustrator and printmaker, who has influenced my creative thinking ever since. I don't think Bawden was as well known at that time as he is now but Douglas Percy Bliss had just written an excellent biography of him and he was beginning to be noticed again. I used the biography as the starting point for my writing along with the excellent 'Artists at Curwen'(maybe a bit too much!).
I remember interviewing him in his studio with huge windows along one side and a view of Saffron Walden. He showed me where he worked on his large lino prints. I'm sure he had some of the lino from the 'London Market' series and a beautiful, massive Albion press.
He was a similar age to my grandfather at the time and I found him easy to talk to. I was taken by how polite and helpful he was, a real gentleman; modest and a bit bemused at my interest. It was the quiet sense of humour that often shows in his work that I remember most.
Someone made a comment about one of my prints a month or so ago that it made him think of Bawden. I was chuffed! I couldn't see it myself but it just might be in there somewhere (just not as good). So this morning I sorted out a couple of the letters and books that I kept from that time and thought I'd put them on here.
Read a good biography of the great artist here.