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‘Bawden, Ravilious and the art of Great Bardfield’

9 July 2022 to 9 October 2022 The Lightbox Gallery & Museum

Image © Eric Ravilious (1903-42) Rye Harbour, 1938 Pencil and watercolour Image courtesy of the Ingram Collection
This summer, The Lightbox gallery & museum will host the new Upper Gallery exhibition ‘The Ingram Collection & The Fry Art Gallery: ‘Bawden, Ravilious and the art of Great Bardfield’. Celebrating the story of a thriving artist community that sprang up in Great Bardfield, a village in north-west Essex, the exhibition will feature work from the collections of The Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden and The Ingram Collection.

This exhibition will include more than 30 paintings and drawings by Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and their friends and contemporaries. They worked as painters, printmakers and designers in the years before and after the Second World War, and as Official War Artists during the war. Ravilious and Bawden settled in Great Bardfield after meeting at The Royal College of Art in London, in 1922 and became firm friends. Through the 1930s, they became known for their skilful watercolours and innovative printmaking.

The works in the show represent local landscapes to Great Bardfield, including the work of Michael Rothenstein, Walter Hoyle, John Aldridge, Sheila Robinson and George Chapman. The exhibition will also include the artists' sketchbooks and photographs, as well as related ephemera. 

The exhibition features key works by Ravilious, a painter, illustrator and designer, including rare watercolours such as Rye HarbourThe Pant Valley, ShalfordTwo Figures in a Boat, and The Potato Field. The watercolours examine English landscapes, and several of these served as part rent for his home Ironbridge Farm, in Shalford. 

The exhibition emphasises the importance of graphic design for Bawden, a designer, illustrator and painter known for his prints (Borough Market, The Palmhouse at Kew Gardens, The Road to Thaxted), book covers and posters. He had a distinctive style in his work that reflected his own quirkiness. His commissions include a wide variety of projects from prominent household names including London Transport. 

This Lightbox exhibition will be accompanied by a talk, ‘The Fry Art Gallery: ‘Great Bardfield Shows Beautiful Things’. Gordon Cummings, Chairman and long-time trustee of The Fry Art Gallery, will discuss the history of The Fry Art Gallery and the impressive art collection it houses, on Thurs 8 September, 1.00pm – 2.00pm. 

The Ingram Collection & The Fry Art Gallery: ‘Bawden, Ravilious and the art of Great Bardfield’ opens on 9 July in the Upper Gallery, and runs until 9 October 2022. Entry to the exhibition is £7.50 with a Day Pass. Lightbox Members and Under 21s go free. 

Visitor Information: The Lightbox is situated in Woking (25 minutes from London Waterloo by train) and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10.30am – 5.00pm, last Thursday of the month 10.30am – 8.30pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm. For more information please visit www.thelightbox.org.uk 

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