Bawden By The Sea

On Saturday I visited The Bedford Higgins, especially to see the Bawden By The Sea exhibition. I had never been to Bedford before, the museum is in an old brewery building and is situated in a pleasant spot near the castle mound and the river (lots of lovely swans on the river!).

I was really looking forward to seeing Bawden By The Sea, especially the original lino blocks for Brighton Pier. The exhibition took you from the initial sketches, to the lino blocks and to the final prints. I loved studying the block in detail and reading about the process. It was refreshing to see that the ‘master’ of linocuts made mistakes and struggled with the process, but still produced excellent prints. There are other sea related etchings and linocuts, including Snowstorm at Brighton, as well as porcelain designed for the Orient Line. There were also other works by Bawden hidden away in vertical drawers and a bench that he designed. I was very impressed and feel lucky to have seen the lino blocks up close.

Aside from the Bawden exhibition, I saw J.M.W. Turner & The Art of Watercolour. There were some great paintings, my favourite being The Great Falls of the Reichenbach, the scale and realism are impressive. This exhibition is joined to another room of watercolours from the museum’s collection and included some very nice works by David Jones and Paul Nash. J.M.W. Turner & The Art of Watercolour runs until 10th April 2016.

The permanent exhibits at the museum are very interesting too, I particularly enjoyed Somewhere In England, which documents Bedford’s agricultural and engineering heritage, and also the display about the history of the brewery.

For anyone interested in printmaking I would definitely recommend visiting Bawden By The Sea!

Bawden By The Sea runs until 29th January 2017

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A visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum

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Last weekend I visted the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. As well as the vast art collection, I was able to see three exhibitions, ‘A World of Private Mystery: John Craxton’, ‘The Rampant Lions Press: A Letterpress Odyssey’ and ‘From Root to Tip: Botanical Art In Britain’.

The highlight for me was the Craxton exhibition. I had not come across his work before and I was really intrigued by the variation in style…bright and bold paintings to simple pencil drawings, both as impressive as each other. If you have not yet discovered John Craxton’s work I recommend looking him up, you can find out a bit more here.

The Rampant Lions Press exhibition has a lovely selection of letterpress pieces, most of which are typographical. My favourite piece from the exhibition was a book cover design by Sebastian Carter for The Tiger’s Bride. I definitely recommend this exhibition for people interested in printmaking, typography and artist books. The exhibition continues until 18th May.

‘From Root to Tip’ features watercolour paintings of plants by both professional and amateur artists. There are some beautiful images, my favourite was of a purple Iris. The exhibition continues until 11th May.