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Edward Bawden & Me

The Higgins Bedford

From 17th February until 13th October 2024 the biggest names in British art, illustration, ceramics and textiles come together in this eclectic exhibition at The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum in celebration of the work of printmaker, illustrator, watercolourist and designer Edward Bawden (1903-1989).

The exhibition is curated by Bawden’s good friend, the illustrator and printmaker Chris Brown who has invited 30 artists and makers to respond to works by Edward Bawden in The Higgins Bedford Collection. The artists include fashion designer Lulu Guinness, ceramicists Vicky Lindo and Sussex Lustreware, artists Rob Ryan, Angie Lewin, John Broadley and John Lawrence, rag rug maker Lu Mason and stone carver Matt Loughlin and a host of other well known and brilliant artists and makers. Each artist has been invited to look through the archive and pick a work that inspires them. In the exhibition their artistic response is shown alongside the work by Bawden that inspired it.

The Higgins Bedford is the home of the Edward Bawden Archive, a collection of over a thousand pieces that Bawden donated to the Gallery in the 1980s. Bawden wrote: “My own wish would be for all the jigsaw pieces of my life’s work to be together… I must say I should feel immensely happy if I could be allowed to leave my remains to Bedford.”

The archive housed at the Higgins Bedford contains work Bawden made while he was a student at the Royal College of Art in the 1920s, through to commissions he received in the 1980s. It includes prints, watercolours, ceramics, wallpapers, murals, posters, advertising designs, book illustrations, and even a garden bench.

Chris Brown says, “I think Edward would be amused to see that so may artists, printmakers, designers are paying ‘homage’ to his work. Selecting the group has been enormous fun and the work produced in response to Edwards will reflect his broad interests.”

As part of the Edward Bawden celebrations, a local group of Bedfordshire illustrators, the Circus of Illustration, has been commissioned to support eight local artists to produce a collection of new illustrations inspired by the Edward Bawden Archive. Their work will be on display throughout the exhibition.


Tuesdays to Saturdays 11am-5pm

Sundays and Bank Holidays 2pm-5pm

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