Bawden is, perhaps, the key artist of the North West Essex/Great Bardfield group. Though of Cornish ancestry, he was born in Braintree and was firmly rooted in the Essex countryside. Educated at the Friends School in Saffron Walden, he gained a coveted scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1922, where he was taught by Paul Nash. It was at the RCA that Bawden met his kindred spirit, Eric Ravilious, the two becoming firm friends.
He became a war artist in 1940 and established an international reputation as a designer, illustrator and painter; he was also involved in the production of murals, posters, designs for wallpaper, ceramics, lithographic prints and watercolours. He produced posters for London Underground and his designs still adorn several London Underground stations. His influence on 20th century illustration and design is incalculable with his quintessentially English wry observation of everyday life.
Bawden’s home in Great Bardfield, Brick House, which he briefly shared with Ravilious, features in several of his works. He exhibited extensively and is represented in many public collections.