Edward Bawden

Houses at Ironbridge

1956, 1957

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Artist
Edward Bawden 1903–1989
Medium
Watercolour and ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 470 x 581 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1958
Reference
T00206

Not on display

Display caption

In 1958 Bawden recalled, ‘I was at Ironbridge for about six weeks in September and October 1956 and was joined by John Aldridge, John Nash and Carel Weight. Each of us in turn painted the famous bridge... “Houses at Ironbridge” was almost the last painting I was able to do during my stay.’

Ironbridge, near Telford in Shropshire, is now preserved as a cradle of the industrial revolution. Already declining at the time of Bawden's visit, it could still be imagined as a place of active workings that seem to intrude even into the sky.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T00206 HOUSES AT IRONBRIDGE 1956
 
Inscr. ‘Edward Bawden 1957’ b.r.
Pen and ink and watercolour, 18 1/2×22 7/8 (47×58).
Purchased from the artist (Knapping Fund) 1958.
Exh: Great Bardfield Artists, Art Exhibitions Bureau touring exhibition, August 1957–May 1958 (12), as ‘Iron Bridge’; withdrawn for inclusion in Open House Week, Great Bardfield, July 1958.
Repr: Colin MacInnes, Great Bardfield Artists, 1958, as ‘Houses at Ironbridge’.  

The artist wrote (12 August 1958): ‘I went to Ironbridge on the advice of a schoolmaster who had lived there for several years, supported by the recommendation of my wife. I was at Ironbridge for about six weeks in September & October of 1956 & was joined by John Aldridge, John Nash & Carel Weight. Each of us in turn painted the famous bridge & in every case the painting of the bridge was the first subject chosen. “Houses at Ironbridge” was almost the last painting I was able to do during my stay there.’

On 17 August he added: ‘The date on the painting is an error. I do not sign & date paintings until they are sent to the framers & a year may pass by before the necessity of getting the painting framed arises.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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