Charlotte Bawden
1902 - 1970

Born Charlotte Epton, she was a successful potter who worked with Bernard Leach in St Ives between 1927 and 1930, and with Michael Cardew at the Winchcombe Pottery. She exhibited at the Beaux Arts Gallery in Bond Street in 1928. A fellow student of Edward Bawden at the Royal College of Art, they married in 1932. By that time Bawden, together with their RCA contemporary Eric Ravilious, was renting a part of Brick House in Great Bardfield. Bawden's father bought Brick House as a wedding present for the Edward and Charlotte, and they occupied it until her death in 1970. Ravilious and his wife, the artist Tirzah Garwood, initially shared the house with the Bawdens, before moving to Castle Hedingham in 1934. During that time, Charlotte and Tirzah collaborated on creating hand-marbled papers, which were sold as sheets or made up into letter racks, blotters, etc., and sold to The Little Gallery, Dunbar Hay, and the book trade. They were also used to decorate the door panels of cupboards in Brick House, and the interiors of model houses later made by Tirzah.<br><br>From the early 1930s until the 1970s, Brick House was at the centre of the flourishing community of artists which developed in Great Bardfield and the surrounding area. When the house was taken over for wartime use, Charlotte moved with their two children to Cheltenham, where she taught art. However, during this time the community developed as other artists moved to the Bardfield area, so as to be away from London in the Blitz.<br><br>Charlotte Bawden was at the centre of all the artistic and social activity in Great Bardfield through four decades, providing generous hospitality, organisation, and support for Edward in his extensive output and teaching. She was very much involved in the local community, was a magistrate, and a Women's Institute lecturer. She largely abandoned her own artistic production to fulfil these roles, but her skill is evident in her sought-after pottery, and in the impressive 1932 portrait of Eric Townsend in the Collection.<br>