Stansted: Sworders sells art by Bawden and Aldridge

5:00 p.m. April 11, 2022

Works of art created in Essex have fetched high prices at Sworders auction house.

The Stansted Mountfitchet showroom sale of modern and contemporary art on April 5 included works by members of both art communities in Great Bardfield, Essex, and Benton End, Suffolk.

The Benton End and Great Bardfield “schools” were approximately 50 miles apart but shared many like-minded artists and a similar time frame.

Both emerged in the mid-1930s and survived as avant-garde artistic centers into the 1970s.

Edward Bawden’s linocut called Ives Farm, Great Bardfield, 1957 was sold in the Sworders modern and contemporary art sale
– Credit: Bawden/Swordsman

Edward Bawdens Ives Farm, Great Bardfield, 1957, showing a Farmer, Cattle and Birds, had an estimate of £1,500-£2,500 and sold for £4,100.

Edward Bawden's linocut of The Road to Thaxted was sold by the Sworders auctioneers in Stansted, Essex

Edward Bawden’s linocut of The Road to Thaxted was sold by Sworders
– Credit: Bawden/Swordsman

His work called The road to Thaxtedfrom 1960, showing the front of a farmhouse with a policeman driving by, was estimated at £3,000-5,000 and sold for £10,400.

Amy Scanlon, Head of Modern and Contemporary Art at Sworders, said: “Both were the quintessential Bawden linocuts and were produced in relatively small editions – Ives farm numbered 32 of 35 and The Street of the Thaxted 33 out of 55.

“However, the latter garnered a particularly strong sum because it is a rare impression and features bolder colors than the earlier editions.”

The presence of such artistic heavyweights as Bawden in the village encouraged the arrival of other artists such as John Aldridge.

John Aldridge's 1968 work entitled Roadside Cottage, Thaxted was sold by Sworders, Stansted, Essex

John Aldridge’s 1968 work entitled Roadside Cottage, Thaxted was sold by Sworders
– Credit: Aldridge/Sworders

Its oil on board Roadside Cottage, Thaxted, 1968 was listed at £1,000 to £1,500. It sold for £3,900.

Bluegate Hall Farman oil on panel, titled and dated on the reverse January 1952, fetched £9,100.

The sale included more than 20 works by Benton End artists who also sold well, including Arthur Lett-Haines, Lucy Harwood, Joan Warburton, Denise Broadley, Waverney Frederick and Paul Earee.

A watercolor by Lett-Haines depicting one of the borders of the garden Jardin d’Artistesigned and dated 1969, has more than doubled expectations at £5,400.

Other pieces sold were the 1966 watercolor by Lett-Haines mouth (£340), a mixed media composition entitled A summary of French inspiration from 1965 (£1,520) and the pencil drawing Vamos! Los hombres, let’s get out of here boys (£310).

Amy Scanlon added: “When Sworders first began championing these lesser-known artists a decade ago, their work could be bought for relatively modest sums.

“Now we are beginning to see them bearing fruit in the auction room.”

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