Brick House From Behind

This is a post about the back of Brick House, the home of Edward Bawden in Great Bardfield. It is an odd thing but many artists ended up painting the back of Bawden’s house more than the front. One would guess they were painted during parties or over weekends.

Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious were young artists, they met as students at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1922. Bawden and Ravilious moved into Essex in 1925, Cycling around the area they came across Brick House, Great Bardfield where they rented rooms from Mrs Kinnear, a retired ship-stewardess, for weekends away from London.

Ronald Maddox – Brick House, 1960

Brick House is an early 18th Century red brick house with two floors and windowed attics. The property had two staircases, so when the house was rented it was divided into two parts with a shared kitchen and scullery. It had been the home of a carriage maker, a girls school, and a coffin maker in it’s past. Mrs Kinnear rented rooms but lived her with two daughters and her dog.

When Edward Bawden married Charlotte Epton in 1932, Edward’s father bought them Brick House as a wedding gift and Charlotte’s father, who was a solicitor took care of the paperwork.

The first picture here, by Eric Ravilious is painted from the top of the house. At this time the roof was being repaired and retiled as it was in poor condition after purchase. Edward and Eric both climbed up the ladders to the roof to paint the view, you can see more of the guttering to the right of the picture below than you could from the view of Edward’s studio.

Eric Ravilious – Prospect from an Attic, 1932

The picture below by Bawden shows the roof being repaired by Elisha Parker and Eric Townsend and their ladder to the roof. Even though the house was sold, Mrs Kinnear (the old landlady) had left all her possessions in the building while she took up a Housekeeper post in the New Forest. Charlotte managed to arrange that the possessions would be stored in the Village Hall and with the help of Mrs Townsend (Eric’s mother, who was also the washer woman) she moved them out of the house. While the roof was repaired Charlotte Bawden cleaned and fumigated the rooms prior to them being decorated.

You can see Elisha and Eric on the roof below.

Edward Bawden – They dreamt not of a perishable home, who thus could build, 1932

The bizarre name for the painting was inspired by Mary Gwen Lloyd Thomas, one of Charlotte’s friends who edited poetry books, the quote is from Wordsworth:

They dreamt not of a perishable home who thus could build
Be mine, in hours of fear
Or grovelling thought, to seek a refuge here;
Or through the aisles of Westminster to roam;
Where bubbles burst, and folly’s dancing foam
Melts, if it cross the threshold

In the Garden is a little wooden trellised hut that the Raviliouses had given to the Bawden’s as a wedding present. You can see the foundations being installed in the picture above with wheelbarrows around and upturned earth (They dreamt not of a perishable home…).

It is my feeling that the picture below by Charles Mahoney was painted in 1932, likely just after the roof was completed. It is part of the collection of the Royal Academy and they date it as 1950s, likely because the missing trellis. Why do I think ’32? Well the same concrete foundations and wheelbarrows are where the trellis would later stand (the site of the buckets), and the waterbutt is to the left in Mahoney’s painting where as in the painting below it by Ravilious the waterbutt has been moved. Also the shed beside the trellis was lost in the war and replaced by one with a different roof axis. But mostly because it looks so much like the painting above.

Charles Mahoney – Barnyard (RA Say 1950’s I say 1932)

You can see the completed trellis in the picture by Ravilious below. Also the blue gates helped divide the part of the Bawden’s garden from Mrs Kinnear part of the house originally, it was also where she kept her dog. Later on as motorcars became popular the gates would divide the house from the driveway.

Eric Ravilious – The Garden Path, 1933

The brougham cart in the picture below was a purchase by Charlotte Bawden who bought it mostly because she thought the wheels were so valuable. Tom Ives (the farmer from Ives Farm at the end of their Garden) was selling it, and for some years it was kept under the trellis.

On the top of the trellis building is a wooden carved soldier made by Eric Townsend, the arms moved in the wind to scare birds on the farms.

Edward Bawden, My heart, untravel’d, fondly turns to thee (aka Derelict Cab), 1933

The picture below is of a Snowstorm by Bawden, he has scratched the paper to give the effect of snow blowing on the wind in all directions as it falls. The view is from the window in his Studio that looked almost right down the drain pipe. The carriage likely sold or scrapped by that point.

Edward Bawden, February 2pm, 1936

In 1937 the Country Life Cookbook had wood engravings inside, designed by Eric Ravilious and it featured a small wood engraving of the Brick House garden and the trellis again. By this time the Raviliouses had moved to Castle Hedingham, about six miles east of Great Bardfield.

Eric Ravilious – August, Wood-engraving for the Country Life Cookery Book, 1937

Below is a painting by another visitor to Brick House, Geoffrey Hamilton Rhoades. He is mentioned in Anne Ullman’s edited Tirzah Garwood biography Long Live Great Bardfield. This painting has a guessed age of c1940s, I would again say it is likely mid-to-late 1930s as the toy soldier is still on top of the trellis. The other amazing and totally unrelated detail about this painting is it was bought by Pixie O’Shaughnessy-Lorant in 1987. What an amazing name!

Geoffrey Hamilton Rhoades – Brick House, Great Bardfield, likely about 1935

During the Second World War Edward was touring the world painting as an official War Artist, Charlotte was in Cheltenham teaching and potting at Winchcombe, and their two children Richard and Joanna were at private schools in the Cotswolds. As the Brick House was empty it was used, and abused by the Home Guard and local officials as a headquarters. The house was the only building in Great Bardfield to suffer bomb damage. Many villages in the East of England were bombed, not as planned targets, but mostly from German bombers trying to dispel leftover bombs after failed bombing raids on airfields, factories or docks. The bombs being so heavy would use up more their the aircraft’s fuel and make it harder to fly back to their Nazi bases over the German Ocean.

After the War, John Aldridge painted the builders repairing Brick House. It was likely that the trellised building Eric and Tirzah gave to the Bawden’s was blown up at the same time. Eric, also an official war artist was also lost in the Second World War, in an aircraft off the coast of Iceland.

John Aldridge – Builders at Work, Brick House, Great Bardfield, 1946

John Aldridge had moved to Great Bardfield with Lucie Brown (nee Saunders) and the couple lived in sin until in 1940 John married her when he signed up to join the war effort.

The last painting of Brick House is this snow scene by Edward in 1955. Richard and Joanna are on a sledge and the roofs are covered with snow as is the ground making the red bricks bolder in colour.

Edward Bawden – Brick House, Great Bardfield, 1955

Video: Kenneth Rowntree – The War Years

Kenneth Rowntree – The War Years

Eric Ravilious – Designs for London Transport’s Green Line

Eric Ravilious – Designs for London Transport’s Green Line

Video: Edward Bawden – Life In An English Village Discovered

A video on the making, inspiration and production of the Noel Carrington and Edward Bawden’s book, Life In An English Village.

Edward Bawden – Life In An English Village Discovered

A Brief History of Walter Hoyle by Inexpensive Progress

Lindsell Church

Lindsell is a village neighbouring Great Bardfield, Essex. The church is dedicated to St Mary The Virgin and dates back to Norman period with many alterations since. It was a church that Bawden would paint and print from different angles being in walking distance from his home at Brick House.

Although the styles are much the same the colour pallets are different. The linocut at the bottom of the page is very large and in life, has the texture and detail as this first watercolour.


 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1956


 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1956


 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1958


 Edward Bawden – Lindsell Church, 1961 

Kenneth Rowntree War Pictures

Born in Scarborough, Kenneth Rowntree’s father was the manager of the local department store who displayed his work in the shop, this may have been why Rowntree changed from training to be a cellist to becoming an artist. He studied at the Ruskin Drawing School, Oxford and went to the Slade School in London.

In 1941, Rowntree had moved to Great Bardfield, settling with his wife Diana (née Buckley) into the “a handsome draughty house” Town House. There they would be neighbours to Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious lived in Castle Hedingham a few miles away.

The paintings Kenneth Rowntree made during war time are rather curious because they are not on the front line. Unlike many of the other official war artists, Rowntree was a Conscientious Objector. He did paint the domestic scenes of life during wartime, but not pictures of the war maneuvers.

The picture below is of a Polo Ground is a good example of his work. The pitch as been converted into growing produce and the people working for the war effort but making food.

The figure of the man signifying the every man worker to me says ‘we are all in this together’. Below are five of his paintings for the War Artist Scheme.


 Kenneth Rowntree – A Polo Ground in War-time, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – Foreign Servicemen in Hyde Park: Early Summer, 1940

In the picture above, the mixture of uniforms is a good indication of how many parties are mixed up in the conflict. A subtle communication.


 Kenneth Rowntree – The Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts Canteen Concert, Isle of Dogs, London, E14, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – The Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness: Firing through Screens, 1945


 Kenneth Rowntree – Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness, 1945

All the paintings below are part of the Recording Britain series.

In 1940, when the British landscape was under attack from the threat of German bombers, the Ministry of Labour, in association with the Pilgrim Trust commissioned many of Britain’s artists to go out and paint a record of the changing face of the country before it was too late. 

I think part of the romance of the pictures below is the lack of cars in pictures. No High Street in Britain will ever look beautiful again until cars are stored back in their garages and not parked on the street. Other than the Old Toll Bar House all the places are without figures, an empty world of architectural curiosity. I also feel that there is something beautiful about those multi-layered telegraph poles and wires in the same picture.


 Kenneth Rowntree – Old Toll Bar House, Ashopton, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – Underbank Farm, Woodlands, Ashdale, Derbyshire, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – Scarborough, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – The Castle, Sheriff Hutton, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – The Bellringer’s Chamber, SS. Peter and Paul Church, Clare, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – Cliff Bridge Terrace and Museum, Scarborough, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – Grainfoot Farm, Derwentdale, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – The Smoke Room, Ashopton Inn, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – The Smoke Room, Ashopton Inn, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – St. Mary’s, Whitby – Exterior, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – The Smithy, Crathorne, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – Rievaulx Abbey, 1940


 Kenneth Rowntree – West Front of the Priory Church, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, 1941


 Kenneth Rowntree – Chapel Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire, 1941


 Kenneth Rowntree – North Landing, Flamborough, 1940

David Mellor, Gill Saunders, Patrick Wright – Recording Britain , 1990

Map Making

In my isolation I thought it would be fun to make a map of where the Great Bardfield artists painted from. To pinpoint the locations and tag the work. Well that is what I have done, so now you can sit at home and traverse their work using a modified version of Google Maps. I have also added a few more of the Fry Galleries other artists like Paul Beck.

The artists are colour indexed.
The House Pin – location of an artists home.
Camera Pin – The pins of from where the work was painted (I thought it would be more fun for people to stand in the spot where an artwork was painted)

Click here for the map

Forthcoming – A New Great Bardfield Autobiography

Before and After Great Bardfield: The Autobiography of Lucie Aldridge

Once considered lost, the forthcoming autobiography of Lucie Aldridge is released in the Summer of 2020. It covers her childhood in rural Cambridge at the end of the nineteenth century, her sisters, the Suffragette movement, her first marriage during WWI, and her life in London. That ‘London’ life was a release from the conventions of her childhood. She notes the famous parties of Cedric Morris and the Bright Young Things; meeting John Aldridge and finding herself in Majorca with Robert Graves and Laura Riding. There are too many people to list.

Following the success of Long Live Great Bardfield, The autobiography of Tirzah Garwood, Lucie’s book is a autobiography comes with a postscript by Inexpensive Progress detailing frankly the life and trials Lucie would go on to have in that Essex village.

If anyone has ever met Lucie, has any information on her, or her work (paintings and rugs) do please let me know at but time is short!


 Lucie by John Aldridge, 1930 (Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum)




Decimal Day in the United Kingdom was on 15 February 1971, the day on which each country decimalised its respective £sd currency of pounds, shillings, and pence.

The first decimal coins that appeared in the United Kingdom back in 1968 were a well-loved representation of British heritage at that time. 40 years later, in 2008, we wanted to update the coins with a fresh set of designs.


The process began with a competition. The Royal Mint asked people to submit designs for the six coins that could stand alone or work as a set. We were looking for designs that would symbolise Britain, perhaps by using traditional heraldry, though designers were free to explore all options.

As well as inviting specially chosen artists and coin designers to submit designs, we also opened the competition out to the general public. People were invited to send in their designs for six coins: the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p pieces. The £1 was initially left out of the competition.

Here are Edward Bawden’s designs.