On Saturday I visited The Bedford Higgins, especially to see the Bawden By The Sea exhibition. I had never been to Bedford before, the museum is in an old brewery building and is situated in a pleasant spot near the castle mound and the river (lots of lovely swans on the river!).
I was really looking forward to seeing Bawden By The Sea, especially the original lino blocks for Brighton Pier. The exhibition took you from the initial sketches, to the lino blocks and to the final prints. I loved studying the block in detail and reading about the process. It was refreshing to see that the ‘master’ of linocuts made mistakes and struggled with the process, but still produced excellent prints. There are other sea related etchings and linocuts, including Snowstorm at Brighton, as well as porcelain designed for the Orient Line. There were also other works by Bawden hidden away in vertical drawers and a bench that he designed. I was very impressed and feel lucky to have seen the lino blocks up close.
Aside from the Bawden exhibition, I saw J.M.W. Turner & The Art of Watercolour. There were some great paintings, my favourite being The Great Falls of the Reichenbach, the scale and realism are impressive. This exhibition is joined to another room of watercolours from the museum’s collection and included some very nice works by David Jones and Paul Nash. J.M.W. Turner & The Art of Watercolour runs until 10th April 2016.
The permanent exhibits at the museum are very interesting too, I particularly enjoyed Somewhere In England, which documents Bedford’s agricultural and engineering heritage, and also the display about the history of the brewery.
For anyone interested in printmaking I would definitely recommend visiting Bawden By The Sea!