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An Outbreak of Talent: Bawden, Marx, Ravilious, and their Contemporaries

[ Exhibition )

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Two red crabs face each other, one larger and older with a sorrowful expression on its face.

Edward Bawden, An Old Crab and a Young (From Aesop’s Fables), c. 1956, Linocut on paper, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The David Leslie Medd Bequest, 2009) © The Estate of Edward Bawden

An exhibition celebrating a remarkable generation of artists.

From wood-engraved book illustrations and commercial artwork, to textile and ceramic design, these artists transformed the design world of 20th century Britain.

For a brief period during the 1920s, some of the most celebrated 20th century British artists including Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Enid Marx studied together at the Royal College of Art. Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, these artists forever altered the face of design in modern Britain.

In the vibrant Junior Common Room of the Royal College of Art, artists began to form friendships, some of which would last a lifetime. Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman, Eric Ravilious, Enid Marx and Norah Bradon formed one group, characterised by a rural aesthetic. Edward Burra, William Chappell and Barbara Ker-Seymour however created more urban work, reflecting their interests in jazz music, theatrical performance and the cinema.

All were taught by the painter Paul Nash, who was a tutor at the Royal College of Art between 1924 and 1925. He later recalled this period in an article in Signature Magazine:

“Ten years ago I was teaching design at the Royal College of Art. I was fortunate in being there during an outbreak of talent, and can remember at least eight men and women who have made names for themselves since then in a variety of different directions: in Painting, Edward Burra; Applied Design, Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman, and Eric Ravilious; Textiles, Enid Marx; Pottery, Bradon; also William Chappel in Stage Design and Barbara Ker-Seymer in Photography.”

This display coincides with our major exhibition, Barnett Freedman: Designs for Modern Britain.

Plan your visit

Please visit our FAQs to find out more about how we are making your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.

As a precaution against coronavirus we have removed hard copy versions of our large print labels from the gallery spaces.

We encourage anyone who would like large print labels to download them in advance of their visit.

Download the labels for this exhibition

We have also implemented a one-way system through the Gallery. You can download a copy of the floorplan ahead of your visit as well.

Download the floorplan

I was fortunate in being [at the Royal College of Art] during an outbreak of talent…

Paul Nash

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