Richard Bawden’s Introduction to ‘Life in an English Village’
Saturday 28th Jan, 2016 Exhibition Opening
We were honoured to welcome Richard Bawden to ‘Life in an English Village’ Exhibition opening on the 28 January 2016. He opened the day with a welcoming introduction, which was followed by an opportunity to view the new Exhibition for the first time.
“I am delighted and honoured to be invited to be here today. I was born in Braintree and as a baby was pushed round Bardfield in a huge old pram with my sister Joanna by Buttle, who lived at Rose dean, the last house on the Dunmow Road. This exhibition is a nostalgic record of how Great Bardfield was; the village I knew as a 10 year old boy. I can remember everyone illustrated in Life in an English Village; everyone knew everyone else; it was a self supporting community. I have brought copies of some Edward drawings; two of which are his first ideas for lino cuts; Braintree Station and Bardfield Town Hall, both in the exhibition. I am interested to see the painting by William Slow from the attic window; painted during one of Edward’s Sunday afternoon art classes; I have also brought an Edward drawing done from an upstairs window at Brick House Mainly he liked to draw outside, one winter while drawing the Friends Meeting House ‘mad Mrs Buttle’ * threw a snowball at him; sadly, there is no record of his response.
Tom Ives still had horses on his farm; we had a gate at the end of our garden into the farmyard, where both Edward and several of the other artists used to go and draw, as I did myself. Cocks, old carts, milk churns and a dilapidated shed with a broken hay wagon. We also went down the footpath to the bridge and on up to Beslyns, or along to the willow grove on the bend in the river, to paint and to swim.
In the 1930s this is where Sergeant Baker, who lived next door to Brick House, came across Edward Charlotte Eric and Tyrzah swimming naked; he was far too embarrassed to arrest them. One day when Joanna and I were going to camp there we carried armfuls of straw down the field for bedding; the 2 huge cart horses thought we were feeding them, so galloped down after us; it was most alarming.
The Town Hall was used for everything, and on one occasion I remember a talk by the cartoonist David Low, during which he drew a large cartoon of Winston Churchill; this was auctioned at the end of the evening, and sold for £1.
Shown here is a wonderful record by the artists who came to live in the village., and I would now like to declare the exhibition…open”