Two Watercolours on Paper
No Place. No Publisher. c.1980.
Two watercolours. The first, 25 x 20cm, a courting couple in the form of two well dressed cats inscribed in red pen 'To Olive for a happy Christmas & (a little bit of) love, from Edward'. The second 23 x 20cm, a study of cats with angel and butterfly wings inscribed in black ink 'to Olive with love & best wishes for Christmas & the New Year from Edward. Together with a photograph by Edwin Smith of Olive Cook in her garden. Edward Bawden, CBE RA (1903–1989) was an English painter, illustrator and graphic artist, known for his prints, book covers, posters, and garden metalwork furniture. Bawden taught at the Royal College of Art, where he had been a student, worked as a commercial artist and served as a war artist in World War Two. Olive Cook (1912-2002) was best known for her work with her husband, the photographer Edwin Smith(1912–1971). In 1937, she began work at the National Gallery to become Supervisor of Publications, working closely with Sir Kenneth Clark on the removal of the gallery's treasures to slate mines at Blaenau Festiniog. Between 1952 and 1964, she was the English Representative for the Carnegie Institute at Pittsburgh and was a visiting tutor in painting and architecture at Denman College from 1956. One of the Smiths' favourite places was Great Bardfield, where Edward and Charlotte Bawden lived. After Smith's death in 1971, Cook managed his collection of negatives and prints and encouraged publishers to keep his work in the public eye. She edited Edwin Smith: photographs 1935-1971 (1984), and wrote a number of her own books, including Movement in Two Dimensions (1963), a study of the precursors of the cinema, some children's stories. with additions of Regency charm. The Smiths moved from Hampstead to Saffron Walden, in 1962, living a converted coach house overlooking fields. The garden was peopled with salvaged statuary and paved with broken crockery mosaics. When Edward Bawden moved to the town as a widower, Olive Cook was one of his closest companions and in the 1980s helped to establish the Fry Art Gallery with a collection of Great Bardfield artists. This was one of many places where she organised exhibitions of Edwin Smith's paintings and photographs, and her own exquisite collages. These two personal drawings show Olive Cook's love of cats. Bawden himself has long been associated with cats, at the age of seven he was enrolled at Braintree High School, and began studying or copying drawings of cats by Louis Wain and of course he designed the PBFA logo. Both watercolours are framed a glazed. Both a little creased and have folds from being posted. All framed and glazed.