Edward Bawden (1903-1989) P.B.F.A.

Edward Bawden (1903-1989) P.B.F.A.


Edward Bawden was born in 1903 in Braintree, Essex. He was a painter, an illustrator and a graphic artist, who began his training under the artist Paul Nash in the 1920’s. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London with Eric Ravilious, and was described by Paul Nash as ‘an extraordinary outbreak of talent’. He began his career working one day a week for the Curwen Press, for which he would produce illustrations for companies such as London Transport, Westminster Bank and Twinning’s. He was later discovered by the Stuart Advertising Agency, and it was during his time there that Bawden created his most innovative works for Fortnum and Mason and Imperial Airways. During the Second World War, Bawden served as one of the official war artists for Britain, and during this time made many watercolours recording the war in Iraq.

Bawden lived in Great Bardfield in Essex during the 1930’s – 1970’s and it was while living there that he became a member of the Great Bardfield Artists. This group of artists all shared a passion for figurative art although all diverse in their styles. After the death of his wife in 1970, Bawden moved to Saffron Waldon where he continued to work until his death in 1989.


PBFA stands for the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association, an association created in 1974, whose aim is to bring together dealers with shops in the provinces in a series of two-day monthly book fairs in Bloomsbury, London. Over the years a number of artists were asked to design a logo for the Association. Edward Bawden was the last designer commissioned by the PBFA for whom he famously designed the cat logo. It must be the most widely reproduced of Bawden’s linocuts as it has appeared continuously on all PBFA paper bags and plastic carrier bags from the time it was completed.


  • BACON, Caroline and McGREGOR, James, Catalogue of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Edward Bawden Archive, Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery
  • BLISS, Douglas Percy, Edward Bawden, Pendomer Press, 1978
  • GILMOUR, Pat, Artists at Curwen, Tate Gallery, 1977
  • GREENWOOD, Jeremy, Edward Bawden: Editioned Prints. Wood Lea Press, 2005
  • HARLING, Robert, Edward Bawden, Art & Techniks, 1950
  • McKITTERICK, David, Introduction to the catalogue of the exhibition of 15 engravings at the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1988
  • McLEAN, Ruari, Book of Cuts, Scolar Press, 1978
  • RICHARDS, J.M., Edward Bawden. (Penguin Modern Painters Series) Penguin, 1946
  • YORKE, Malcolm, The Inward Laugh: Edward Bawden and His Circle, The Fleece Press, 2005

Evelyne Bell