Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Fry Art Gallery and the Great Bardfield Artists

We visited Saffron Walden recently and discovered the Fry Art Gallery which is open from April to the end of October each year. 

The gallery provides a home to artwork by artists known as the Great Bardfield Artists who are also the subject of a recent publication - Bawden, Ravilious and the Artists of Great Bardfield

The book of the exhibition | V&A Publications
On display at the Museum are some of the paintings, prints, wallpapers, books, fabrics and ceramics created by the Great Bardfield art community between 1930 and 1970. 

At present there are two exhibitions - closing very soon (25th October) - which cover:
  • From Eric Ravilious To Grayson Perry - to mark the 30th anniversary of the opening display of the North-West Essex Collection in the Fry Art Gallery
  • The Art Of Acquisition - The Great Bardfield Artists' Houses - about the interior of the houses
Watercolour paintings by Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious
Eric Ravilious Submarine Series
Lithographs - done while he was working as a war artist

Woodcuts by Eric Ravilious
Ceramics with graphics by Eric Ravilious
I have a particular liking for those artists who record the places where they live and it's fascinating to see them recording life in an Essex village.

You can see some of the images in the exhibition better in other articles about the exhibitions which include:

Great Bardfield

An Illustration of where everybody lived in the 1950s
- with pencil annotations regarding those who had also lived there in earlier times
Great Bardfield is a village in Essex and became a place where a number of figurative artists made their homes. 

Between the 1930s and the 1950s, the artists living there included Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious, as well as  John Aldridge RA, George Chapman, Stanley Clifford-Smith, Audrey Cruddas, Walter Hoyle, Sheila Robinson, Michael Rothenstein, Kenneth Rowntree and Marianne Straub.
The Bardfield artists exhibited in the large 'open house' shows in the isolated village in 1954, 1955 and 1958. These shows attracted thousands of visitors and made the art community famous thanks to national press coverage and several one-off and touring shows in the late 1950sTaechers Pack

Online resources

The Trustees have made good use of their website to provide access to other aspects of the work of the artists

An Appeal

The Trustees now have the opportunity to buy the freehold of the building - which help preserve this important way of seeing an important part of the story of British art.
There's a link to their donation page on the home page of the website.


The Gallery is open from the first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October annually:
  • Monday and Wednesday : Closed
  • Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 2.00pm - 5.00pm
  • Saturday : 11.00am - 5.00pm
  • Sunday : 2.15pm - 5.00pm 
Also Open 2.15pm to 5pm on Bank Holidays

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