Monday - 28 July 2014

When Bawden won Essex a storm of publicity

30 May 2009Written by Roland Arkell

There were local, or at least county, connections when this large linocut print, ‘Church and Thunderstorm’ by Edward Bawden (1903-1989) was offered by Essex auctioneers Sworders at their spring Country House sale.

It is a reworking of a design which the Essex artist first produced for a poster promoting the Saffron Walden Festival of 1975 and shows St. Mary's Church in the town centre dramatically profiled against a thunderous sky broken by shafts of sunlight.

Bawden referred to this print as his second edition of the Saffron Walden poster but, while it contains several of the same printing blocks, the 1980 edition differs materially from the original print. Although it is marked as being No 6 in a run of 50 prints, it is not known how many impressions of this 4ft 10in x 21in (1.47m x 57cm) work were made as they were probably special commissions.

Based in Stansted Mountfitchet, Sworders have sold Bawden's work on many occasions but not this design. Estimated at £2500-3500 for the sale on May 19, it sold at £3300 to a private buyer on the South Coast.

Bawden's signed and inscribed colour linocut The Gnat and the Lion from his Aesop's Fables series, published by Curwen Press, c.1970 sold at £1650 at the same sale.

Wilson Watercolour

As expected, the high point of this sale was provided by a meticulously rendered watercolour by Charles Edward Wilson (1854-1941). His Last Investment, measuring 18in x 2ft 2in (46 x 66cm), depicting an old woman and young boy in a rustic interior is close in style and subject matter to Wilson's Home Sweet Home, which made £15,600 at Christie's in 2007.

Estimated at £7000-9000, His Last Investment went at £10,500 to the UK trade.

The buyer's premium was 20%. 

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