Eric Ravilious Great Bardfield

Great Bardfield Artist Directory

Welcome to the Sworders Great Bardfield Artist Directory where you will find information on the very talented group of artists who resided in the Great Bardfield area. We at Sworders have had particularly close ties with Great Bardfield, which is less than 15 miles from our saleroom in Stansted Mountfitchet. As keen supporters of the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, which has an emphasis on the artists' community which settled in Great Bardfield, we have been keeping a close eye on the progress of our local art movement.

Recent major retrospectives for Eric Ravilious and Kenneth Rowntree at the Dulwich Picture Gallery and Pallant House Gallery in Chichester have played their part in raising new interest in this fascinating group of artists and our prediction that 2016 would see them take centre stage became a reality with hammer prices well exceeding estimate at our inaugural Modern British Art auction in April 2016. Most impressively was the work by Ravilious, ‘The James' And 'The Foremost Prince’ which sold for a staggering £85,000.


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John Aldridge

John Aldridge (1905-1983)

Born in 1905 in Woolwich, Aldridge lived in Great Bardfield from 1933 until his death in 1983.  He shared, with Edward Bawden, a passion for gardening.  The creation of the garden at Place House in Great Bardfield was one of his greatest achievements, and it features frequently in his paintings, as does English landscape as a whole.... 


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Duffy Ayers (b.1915)

Duffy Ayers trained at the Central School of Art in London.  She married Michael Rothenstein and lived in Great Bardfield for approximately twelve years from 1941.  She took a break from her work to raise her family,....

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Michael Ayrton (1921-1975)

Ayrton established himself as an energetic and prolific artist whose work was cut short by his death aged 54.  He was a versatile and respected painter, sculptor, etcher, illustrator, theatre designer, film director, radio broadcaster, art critic and novelist....

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Edward Bawden (1902-1989)

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,....

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Richard Bawden (b.1936)

Son of Edward and Charlotte Bawden, Richard, like his father, was born near Braintree.  He studied at Chelsea and St Martin’s School of Art, Winchester School of Art and the Royal College of Art,....

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Paul Beck (b.1926)

Born in Kent, Beck studied at the Gravesend School of Art and the Royal College of Art, where fellow students included David Gentleman and Len Deighton.  After graduating, he began design work for London advertising agencies, followed by a full-time lectureship of the Croydon College of Art....

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John Bellany (1942-2013)

The son of a Scottish fisherman, his roots were an important factor in his work, often featuring fishermen, fishing boats, fish, gulls and dramas at sea.  He lived near Saffron Walden from 1990 until his death....

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John Bolam (1922-2009)

Born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, Bolam originally studied furniture design at High Wycombe School of Art, and a strong family commitment to the values and beliefs of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement....

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George Chapman (1908-1994)

Chapman was born in East Ham, London, studied at Gravesend School of Art, the Slade and the Royal College of Art.  He lived in Great Bardfield from 1950–1960.

A chance visit to the Rhondda Valley in 1953 led to a transformation in his work,....


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Bernard Cheese (1925-2013)

Born in Sydenham in 1925, he studied at Beckenham School of Art.  After four years serving in the Army in the Second World War, he was finally able to return to the Royal College of Art in 1947, where he was taught by Edward Bawden and John Nash....

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Chloe Cheese (b.1952)

Born in 1952, the daughter of Bernard and Sheila Cheese (Robinson), Chloe spent her early years in Great Bardfield where she spent much time at Brick House with Edward and Charlotte Bawden....

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Olive Cook (1912-2002)

Born in Cambridge in 1912, Olive Cook read Modern Languages at Newnham and began work for publisher, Chatto and Windus, as a typographer.  She then spent eight years at the National Gallery, whilst her painting tuition came from Cedric Morris at the East Anglian School of Art and Design....

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Audrey Cruddas (1911-1978)

Born in Johannesburg and educated in England at the Royal Academy Schools, Cruddas enjoyed a successful career as a theatre designer, principally for the Old Vic, Royal Shakespeare Company and Covent Garden....

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Tirzah Garwood (1908-1951)

Tirzah Garwood grew up in Eastbourne where she attended the local art school; here she met and later married, in 1930, a teacher, Eric Ravilious.  Before her marriage, she produced a favourably reviewed series of engravings....

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Walter Hoyle (1922-2000)

Born in Lancashire, Hoyle studied at Beckenham School of Art and the Royal College of Art, where his studies were interrupted by the Second World War.  On leaving the Army in 1947, he returned to the RCA, where he was greatly influenced by his tutor, Edward Bawden....

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Olga Lehmann (1912-2001)

Born in Chile of a French father and a Scots mother, Lehmann was initially educated by an English governess and then sent to an American college in Santiago, later winning a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in London....

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Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)

Along with Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious is one of the most widely celebrated English artists of the 20th century and a great scion of the Bardfield and North West Essex group....

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Sheila Robinson (1925-1988)

Born in Nottinghamshire, Robinson studied at the Nottingham School of Art and at the Royal College of Art, under her influential tutor, Edward Bawden.  She, together with Walter Hoyle, assisted Bawden with his large mural for the 1951 Festival of Britain....

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Michael Rothenstein (1908-1993)

Born in Nottinghamshire, Robinson studied at the Nottingham School of Art and at the Royal College of Art, under her influential tutor, Edward Bawden.  She, together with Walter Hoyle, assisted Bawden with his large mural for the 1951 Festival of Britain....

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Kenneth Rowntree (1915-1996)

Son of artist and art historian, Sir William Rothenstein, Michael is often regarded as the most avant-garde of the Great Bardfield artists.  He pioneered the use of found objects, anything that could be coated in ink for relief painting....

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Edwin Smith (1912-1971)

Trained as an architect, Smith became internationally known as a photographer contributing to some 40 volumes published in England, the USA and Continental Europe.  He collaborated with his wife, Olive Cook, on many of these....

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Marianne Straub (1909-1992)

Born and educated around Zurich, Straub continued her studies in England at Bradford Technical College.  She became a textile designer of note, with her work appearing in many homes and public places throughout the 20th century....

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Keith Vaughan (1912-1977)

Vaughan had no formal art training, but became a significant figure in the British art world after the Second World War, particularly in the 1950s and ‘60s as part of a network of artists including Graham Sutherland and John Minton....

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John Norris Wood (1930-2015)

Wood studied painting and illustration at Goldsmiths College, London and later at the Royal College of Art, where he won a silver medal for zoological drawing.  It is as an illustrator and printmaker of natural history that he became known....

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