Books

A Bed in Chelsea Edward Bawden’s letters to Muriel Rose (2024)

Artist(s): Edward Bawden
Author(s): Gill Clark
Format: hardback
Edition: First
Year published: 2024
Publisher: Fleece Press
Total Pages: 195
Illustrations: Lavishly illustrated

£184.00

5 available

Initially a friend of Charlotte Epton, who became Mrs Bawden, Muriel Rose developed a friendship with the whole Bawden family. Edward’s letters to her, dating back to the 1930s, give us a very good view of his wartime work, of her Little Gallery, and in particular, their shared love of cats.

Edward lived in the countryside, two hours by bus from London, but periodically needed to go to town to teach, or for Tate Gallery and other gallery business. Eschewing the use of a telephone until 1960, he wrote to Muriel whenever he needed a bed (in Chelsea). The arrangement was happily reciprocated, with Muriel regularly staying at Brick House, as well as at John Aldridge’s house nearby. Gill Clarke has written an introduction setting the letters in context, and her notes on the letters are essential for understanding the detail.

During the 1950s, many of Edward’s letters to Muriel were illustrated with cats, which are just delightful, and are all reproduced here. A portion of the letters was kept in family hands but I then discovered a larger group at the Crafts Study Centre, in Farnham, Surrey, so it is a happy reunion, covering more than fifty years of Edward’s life.

220 copies (stated number is 330) running to 195 pages, quarter-bound in cloth and a Barron and Larcher pattern

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