An extensive group of works by artists from the Great Bardfield school comes for sale at Sworders on October 4. The Modern & Contemporary Art sale includes fine works by Edward Bawden and John Aldridge among others.
29 September 2022
Bawden and his great friend, Eric Ravilious, discovered the village of Great Bardfield while cycling in Essex one summer. They craved its peace and serenity in comparison to London and soon after moved to The Brick House with their wives Charlotte Epton and Tirzah Garwood, who were also artists.
Sworders will offer a number of Bardfield oils, watercolours and linocuts – some of local scenes. A watercolour The Temple of Concord, Audley End, formerly in the collection of Lehman Brothers bank, is expected to bring £5,000 - £7,000 while a pen and ink, crayon, watercolour and bodycolour titled The River Pant, Essex and dated 1954 is guided at £3,000 - £4,000. The Blue Tractor, a linocut in colours from 1962 depicts the Market Place in Saffron Walden. The imposing blue tractor and plough which jumps out of this everyday scene with its colossal size would have been a well-known sight to residents. The machinery belonged to a local agricultural firm which were regularly seen on Tuesday's market day. It is estimated at £3,000 - £5,000.
A particularly rare offering at this sale will be Bawden’s Morte d'Arthur. He was commissioned by the Folio Society in 1980 to illustrate an edition of Sir Thomas Malory's Chronicles of King Arthur. It was issued in July 1982 in three volumes with Bawden choosing to create a small number of portfolios or boxes of artist’s proofs of his 71 lithographs to coincide with the publication. They were printed by the Albion press on Japanese Hosho paper and sold at the Fine Art Society for £950. This copy, numbered 7/10, is estimated at £5,000-7,000.
Edward Bawden RA (1903-1989) 'The Temple of Concord, Audley End' signed 'Edward Bawden' l.r., watercolour 48.5 x 65cm, £5,000-7,000
The presence of such artistic heavyweights in the village encouraged the arrival of other artists, such as John Aldridge (1905-1983). The auction house has a strong track record selling his work for increasingly high sums: however, his large and colourful oil on board Hayfield, North Essex inscribed with title on artist's label verso, could set a record with expectations set at £5,000-7,000.
John Aldridge RA (1905-1983) 'Hayfield, North Essex', oil on board 76.5 x 115.5cm, £5,000-7,000
A smaller oil on canvas titled 'The Cross Farm', dated 'April 1950' is guided at £3,000-5,000. It comes by descent from Reuben Sloman who lived at The Cross Farm, Great Bardfield and was a close friend of John Aldridge.
John Aldridge RA (1905-1983) 'The Cross Farm', 1950 signed 'John Aldridge' l.l., oil on canvas 25.5 x 35.5cm, £3,000-5,000
These lots feature in our upcoming 4 October Modern & Contemporary Art sale. Browse the fully illustrated catalogue here.
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