In Judy Taylor’s book Sketches for friends, 2002 are a series of Edward Ardizzone’s illustrated letters. Some I have illustrated below. From reading the Tim series of books, Edward Ardizzone seemed like a kind person and his letters have a joy to them as well with all the comic illustrations.
It was an age when the postal service would run almost continuously and you could send a letter in the morning and know it would get there in the evening. You could keep in contact throughout the day.
This is a small post, based on a little business card for the A.I.A. Gallery just because I liked it. It is designed by Edward Bawden. I have posted some text from the book on the A.I.A Gallery below. It sums up the organisation far better than I could.
The A.I.A was also known as the Artists’ International Association
An exhibiting society formed in 1932 by a number of left-wings artists and writers who wanted to publicise, through their art, their commitment and resistance to the ‘Imperialist war on the Soviet Union, Fascism and colonial oppression’. Its aim was the ‘Unity of Artists for Peace, Democracy and Cultural Development’. The Association originally termed ‘Artists International’ provided a forum for regular discussions on communism, and its membership included Clifford Rowe, brothers Ronald and Percy Horton, Peggy Angus, Pearl Binder, James Boswell, Edward Ardizzone, Hans Feibusch and Misha Black the first Chairman. Most of the group’s early exhibitions were held at galleries in the Soho area of London, such as Charlotte Street, Frith Street and Soho Square. Its inaugural exhibition was entitled ‘The Social Scene’. In 1935 ‘Association’ was added to its title. A subsequent exhibition in that year called ‘Artists Against Fascism and War’ included works by Robert Medley, Paul Nash and Henry Moore.
The AIA supported the left-wing Republican side in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) through exhibitions and other fund-raising activities. It attempted to promote wider access to art through travelling exhibitions and publicly available mural paintings. In 1940 it published a series of lithographs known as Everyman Prints in large and consequently low-priced editions. By the end of World War II, membership numbered over a thousand and in 1947 a gallery, founded by Claude Rogers was established at 15 Lisle Street, Soho, London which flourished until the lease expired in 1971. Initially it pursued an obvious Marxist programme, with its affiliates producing satirical illustrations for the magazine Left Review but by 1951 the Association was showing non-figurative work and in 1953 a new constitution abandoned its left-wing commitment and it continued solely as an exhibiting society. Distinguished foreign artists occasionally exhibited work at the later exhibitions: these included Fernand Léger and Picasso.
The Artists’ International Association should not be confused with the International Artists’ Association which was established in 1952 and was an affiliated organization of Unesco.
It tried to promote wider access to art through travelling exhibitions and public mural paintings. In 1940 it published a series of art lithographs titled Everyman Prints in large, and therefore cheap, editions.
A.I.A.: Story of the Artists’ International Association, 1933-53 by Lynda Morris and Robert Radford, 1983
Featured in The Saturday Book #11 there is a drawn graphic diary by Edward Ardizzone. A Holiday Afloat is listed as having ‘a slight misspelling or two’. It includes 20 pen drawings, most of which depict the artist and his family.
Some of the Ardizzone sketchbooks later developed into illustrated diaries, but on certain occasions Ardizzone would start with a diary in mind from the beginning. As an illustrator, the conjunction of text and drawing attracted him and he enjoyed the making of a written and pictorial record. After the war he made a number of small diaries.
The first was of A Holiday Afloat when he took a boat with his wife and his youngest child, Nicholas, in September 1949, and journeyed from Lechlade to Oxford. There were miseries and mishaps but some good moments, and the weather was awful, cold and wet.
The drawings are some of his happiest in this vein and at the end the reader is left wishing for more. A Holiday Afloat was later published with some spelling mistakes in The Saturday Book, edited by Leonard Russell (1951). †
† Edward Ardizzone: Artist and Illustrator by Gabriel White p99, 1979.
Here are a set of adverts out of various magazines from 1932-34 for the Westminster Bank. They are very similar in style to the adverts running at the same time by Guinness and Twinings. The first four illustrations are by Edward Bawden, then Ardizzone and Rothenstein.
There are many more illustrations with all the artists work on the internet but these were the ones I had found in my magazines so far, the text and pictures show the spirit of the age with travel and empire; to the technology of cars and steam liners, simple but beautiful I think.
The Documentary Credit, whereby the Exporter is assured that he will receive payment immediately his goods are shipped, and the Importer that his money will not be paid over except in exchange for the good he has contracted to buy, is the subject-matter of The Financial Machinery of the Import and Export Trade, a copy of which will be gladly sent on receipt of a postcard to the Manager.
Visitors who stay at Grosvenor House will find a branch office of the Westminster Bank at their disposal in the north angle of the building, where they may cash their Letters of Credit or enjoy any of the other services the Bank can offer. They will also doubtless appreciate the double convenience which a temporary banking account affords in enabling them to make any payment by cheque or the Bank, or to pay in, on the spot, any money they may receive during their stay.
Many thousands of people have nominated the Westminster Bank as their Executor, and their numbers are increasing day by day. These men and women have given very careful consideration to this most important subject, and have decided that the advantages of appointing a Corporate Executor enable them to rest content that their wishes will be faithfully and efficiently carried out. Should you not take the same step now? Your local Branch Manager will be please to institute inquiries on your behalf, and if you wish will put you in touch with one of the Bank’s Trustee Branches were experienced staffs are available to discuss your own particular problem.
How often, in your personal affairs, do you come upon some problem of business or finance in which a little expert guidance would be welcome? Upon such occasions you will be wise to ask the Manager of your local Westminster Bank branch for advice, His wide business experience and intimate knowledge of local conditions are entirely at your disposal; his aim – which is that of the Bank it’self – is on of service to the community. He will be glad to tell you of the many ways in which the Westminster Bank can be of service to you.
By the ability of any of its branch offices to obtain passports and to establish credits with foreign agents or make any other necessary arrangements for money requirements abroad, the Westminster Bank is able to relive its customers of some of the more irksome preliminaries of a journey overseas. The Manager of your local branch will be glad to tell you more about these and other banking facilities.
I find I can spot the illustration work of Edward Ardizzone across a room if I am in a bookshop, it is so iconic in style. He is most famous these days for the illustrations to Puffin children’s books like ‘Stig of the Dump’ by Clive King and BB’s ‘The Little Grey Men’ as they have been reprinted now for over forty years with his illustrations; but it’s nice to see his ‘Tim’ series of books have also been reprinted and revived again.
This post is really about his illustrations found inside ‘The Housewife Magazine’. I can find very little information on the history of the magazine itself, but the issues I own run from 1950 to 1970. As you can see from below, some of the illustrations are full colour and one of them is half colour and black and white. Without having looked in every magazine, so far I have found five stories illustrated by Ardizzone, but each edition had a prominent illustrator inside, sometimes Ronald Searle, sometimes Barnett Freedman.
Strawberries and Cream illustrated in full storyboard style by Edward Ardizzone.
Born Edward Jeffrey Irving Ardizzone, he was born in Tonkin on 16 October 1900 and died in Rodmersham Green in Kent, England on 8 November 1979. His father was a naturalised Frenchman of Italian descent, who was born in Algeria. His mother, Margaret, was English.
In 1905, Margaret Ardizzone returned to England with her three eldest children. They were brought up in Ipswich, Suffolk, largely by their maternal grandmother, whilst Margaret returned to join her husband in the Far East.
Ardizzone left school in 1918 and twice tried to enlist in the British Army but was refused. After spending six months at a commerce college in Bath, Ardizzone spent several years working as an office clerk in both Warminster and London, where he began taking evening classes at the Westminster School of Art, which were taught by Bernard Meninsky. In 1922 Ardizzone became a naturalised British citizen.
Ardizzone’s first major commission was to illustrate an edition of ‘In a Glass Darkly’ by Sheridan Le Fanuin 1929. He also produced advertising material for Johnnie Walker whisky and illustrations for both Punch and The Radio Times.
He became a war artist. With an Italian name he was often found drawing British installations and getting arrested as troops struggled to understand his role as a ‘war artist’ and suspected him of being an Italian spy.
Post war his credits of illustrations are so numerous they have become listed as part of a 300 page book of Illustrative works by Brian Alderson ‘A Bibliographic Commentary Hardcover’, a book listing hundreds of books and magazine covers.
Here is a colour and black and white printing. Magazines where still on a budget after the war and colour printing was reserved as a decorative feature to be dispersed over the magazine. Here is an unusual view of this. In Ardizzone’s ‘Tim’ books it is common for one page to be colour and the other in black and white.
Below are the black and white printed line drawings by Ardizzone. One of the loveliest features is the illustrations incorporate the text and flow around it.
The last image below I love best of all. It shows he could illustrate anything.
Strawberries and cream – Greta Lamb – Housewife September 1951 Treasure – F. L. Green – Housewife September 1952
This post is a light introduction into Edward Bawden’s early war work and paintings, before he was stationed to the Middle-East.
Edward Bawden – In an Air Raid Shelter, Dunkirk – Bombs are dropping, 1940.
On Thursday, 7th March, 1940, three days before his 37th birthday, it was announced in the British papers that Edward Bawden and Barnett Freeman were to become Official War Artists on behalf of the British War Office.
Newspaper with the small announcement under ‘War Artists’.
In the first days of April, Ardizzone (Edward) and Bawden took rooms for a while in the hotel Commerce in Arras, fussed over by a shared batman. They enjoyed the local wine and hospitality, before being billeted separately. Arras was dour, small and grey, It was also the GHQ for the British Army in France. †
Edward Bawden – Boys Serving Coffee, Dunkirk, 1940.
From the outset Edward Bawden had wanted to be close to the action: ‘Mr Bawden … would like to get to the front and live in close touch with the RAF.’ In the event he began his time in France with the 2nd Northampton Regiment, rather than the air force.The Northamptons, he found, were ‘nice, simple fellows … who tear about wagging their tails, fetching sticks and retrieving balls.’ †
The war artists found themselves being toured around by a Conducting Officer, who would choose the suitable sites and subjects. Once, Bawden was placed under arrest as he was painstakingly drawing a gun. On another occasion he was able to sit in on a court martial and sketch. †
Edward Bawden – A Court-Martial, Halluin, 1940.
On his way to Dunkirk, Bawden has rolled up his paintings in a cylindrical tin which he clutched under his arm. †
Edward Bawden – Embarkation of Wounded, May, 1940.
Approaching the port, he ditched all his equipment except his art materials (what would the Germans have done with them?) Marching into the town, they ran the gauntlet of ragged French soldiers jeering them. It discomforted him, as did the looters sweeping like locusts through abandoned houses. †
Edward Bawden – The Quay at Dunkirk, 1940.
He reached the quayside in the company of a Canadian major, and they watched with dismay the frantic self-preservation of a group of British generals on the Dunkirk quayside, the swagger sticks pointing at likely boats bound for England. He turned to the major, with a wry smile. ‘Rats always go first’ he said. †
Edward Bawden – Embarkation of Wounded, Dunkirk, May, 1940
After Dunkirk, Bawden found himself off to Iran and Iraq in 1943. The War Artists Advisory Committee (WAAC) found itself in review mid-war, with the pay and styles of the war artists coming into dispute. It was taken over by F.H.Dowden.
Edward Bawden – The Entrance to an Air Raid Shelter, Dunkirk, 1940
Dowden has previously been an art inspector with the Board of Education (war art otherwise had almost nothing to do with the Home Division), but those credentials did little to facilitate a happy fit between the WAAC and its new minder. Among other things, he vetoed the allocation of funds to pay for the depiction of themes that seemed to him superfluous. ‘There is too much repetition of subjects which are historically unimportant,’ he objected, ‘and it may quite well be that the Committee are more concerned with finding work for artists in whom they are interested, than they are about making a record of the progress of the war.’ As a result of Dowden’s interference the WAAC’s decision to send Edward Bawden to Ian and/or Iraq in 1943 earned Home Office agreement only with difficulty, while a plan to give Stephen Bone an open contract to record subjects of his own choosing was rejected as an irresponsible use of public funds. ‡
Below is one of the paintings from Bawden’s time in Iraq. It was editioned as a print by the Curwen Press in 2008 in a limited number of 145.
Edward Bawden – Preparing to Entertain, 1944
† The Sketchbook War by Richard Knott, 2013 978-0752489230
‡ War Paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain by Brian Foss, 2007. 978-0300108903 p168.
◦ Images c/o the Imperial War Museum, London.