Edward Bawden – Aesop’s Fables – An Old Crab and a Young

Out of stock

Inscribed; To Ernest Pearce, signed, dated and titled in pencil. Linocut, 1960, printed in colours, on wove paper. Framed and Glazed.


Bawden produced nine illustrations for Aesop’s Fables (1970), the watercolour drafts for which have survived. Bawden is at his most inventive here-he seems to find lions, eagles, foxes, crabs, peacocks, and hares so much easier to manipulate and make expressive than humans.

In his book on Bawden Malcom Yorke goes on to say that the Linocuts of Bawden’s maturity are unserpassed by any other exponent of the medium. They both simplify a subject to it’s essentials yet make it complex again by the sheer ingenuity with which he manipulates a supposedly intractable material. Inks are reduced so that transparent layers can be over-printed to make a new colour or to allow the initial one to gleam through, all of which demands the most precise alignment before the whole image is pulled together by the final printing of the outlines. Each image is recognisably in Bawden’s style, yet there are no repeated effects or mannerisms – look, for example, at how many ways he finds to portray the sky, or grass, or flowing water. Fellow artist Douglas Percy Bliss concluded: He may well be remembered, despite all his other accomplishments, as Master of the linocut.’

Edward Bawden and his Circle, published by the Antique Collectors’ Club 2007 by Malcolm Yorke.

Additional information


14¾ in x 9½ in. (37.5 cm x 24.3cm.)

Frame or Mount

23½ in x 18 in. (60 cm x 45.7 cm.)


Bawden, Edward (1903-1989)

English printmaker, graphic designer, illustrator and painter. He studied at the School of Art in Cambridge (1918–22) and at the Design School of the Royal College of Art (1922–6), where he was a contemporary of Eric Ravilious and was taught by Paul Nash. While still a student he and Ravilious were commissioned by Sir Joseph Duveen to paint a mural at Morley College (destr. 1940; repainted as the Canterbury Tales in 1958), London. After graduating he worked on a large variety of projects for the Curwen Press at Plaistow, London, and subsequently for many other publishers, producing book illustrations and cover designs, posters and advertisements, leaflets and calendars, including commissions for Shell-Mex, Westminster Bank and the London Transport Board. He held his first one-man show, mainly of landscapes showing the influence of Nash, at the Zwemmer Gallery in London in 1933. During World War II he served as an Official War Artist in the British Army, travelling to Belgium, France and the Middle East and portraying such places as Roman Catholic Church at Addis Ababa (1941; London, Tate). His later work, particularly as a graphic designer, is notable for its simplicity of line and its wit, but he also returned to large-scale mural painting.. He also became well-known for his linocuts, among them Nine London Monuments (Editions Alecto, 1966; see Howes, pp. 96–7) and Six London Markets (Curwen Prints, 1967; see Howes, p. 98). Bibliography J. M. Richards: Edward Bawden (Harmondsworth, 1946) D. P. Bliss: Edward Bawden (Godalming and Toronto, 1979) J. Howes: Edward Bawden: A Retrospective Survey (Bath, 1988).