23 February 2017

Edward Bawden's London by Peyton Skipwith & Brian Webb

The world of Tirzah Garwood and the artists of Great Bardfield have stayed with me since finishing her compelling autobiography Long Live Great Bardfield.  As luck would have it, I own a book featuring some of Edward Bawden's work so off the shelves it came.

'It is unlikely that Bawden's parents ever took him to London, so he had had little or no experience of city life when he enrolled, as a distinctly gauche student, at the Royal College of Art in September 22.  On his first day he met and formed an enduring friendship with another 19-year-old, Eric Ravilious.  Like Bawden, Ravilious, who was also destined for the Design School, was a scholarship boy, having won a bursary from Eastbourne School of Art.  The two young men were diametrically different in character: Bawden was taciturn, monosyllabic and unsociable, while Ravilious was gregarious, fun-loving and outgoing - an attraction of opposites.'

This biography and collection of sketches, posters and paintings make a very nice companion piece to Tirzah's book.

 Painting of Bawden in his studio by Eric Ravilious

With a trip to London on the horizon, I looked on my shelves for a book that drops me right onto Piccadilly...minus the diesel fumes.  Bond Street Story by Norman Collins is fitting the bill nicely.  It has all the depth and richness of London Belongs to Me but instead of a boarding house as the central location, this book features Rammell's, a bustling department store.  It's wonderful, but a bit of a struggle not to visualize scenes from Are You Being Served?.  


  1. I just today received Long Live Great Bardfield in the mail today! (Along with Madame Solario and Every Good Deed and Other Stories). I was going to read Madame Solario next but now I'm thinking about the Tirzah Garwood. . . but I still haven't read London Belongs to Me! How can I decide???

    1. It's a reader's lament, Karen! Looking forward to your thoughts on LLGB...you're going to love it, I'm sure.