Designer Desire: Edward Bawden

Mosaic of Edward Bawden artworks | H is for Home
Edward Bawden (1903–1989) had a long and industrious career producing designs for lots of prestigious clients; companies such as London Transport, Fortnum & Mason, Penguin Books, Poole Potteries, Twinings, the Folio Society and Westminster Bank.

He designed of the Observer Newspaper’s ‘Puzzled Lion and Startled Unicorn’ which adorned their masthead for 50 years. He was an official war artist during the 2nd World War, recording scenes across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

I love his lino-cuts of Brighton landmarks – a couple that I’ve included above – including the Palace Pier and the Royal Pavilion.

There’s an exhibition of a number of his works taking place at the Dulwich Picture Gallery from 23 May to 9 September 2018 if you can get down there. Here’s a little preview…

A new book featuring Bawden’s book cover designs is due for publication next month (April 2018) entitled, Are you Sitting Comfortably? The Book Jackets of Edward Bawden. There’s another limited-edition book, Entertaining a la carte: Edward Bawden and Fortnum & Mason, that I’d love to add to our art & design book collection – available from a cool £90.00!

Portrait of Edward Bawdencredit

Additional image credits:

Invaluable | St Jude’s

Designer Desire: Kaija Aarikka

Mosaic of Kaija Aarikka designs | H is for Home Portrait of Kaija Aarikkacredit

I can’t go more than a few weeks before I’m back across to Scandinavia for a Designer Desire instalment. Kaija Aarikka (1929-2014) began her creative career designing and carving wooden buttons whilst attending Helsinki University of Technology.

Not much later, in 1954, she and her husband founded their own company, Aarikka Oy. They produced mainly wooden jewellery and small wooden ornaments. You can see the progression from the earlier button-making in the beads she used in her later designs.

I love her cute animal figures that she designed using these beads – the plain and multi-coloured rams and different types of birds. These, like her jewellery that she made using wood and often non-precious metals, are very affordable. Find examples on eBay and Etsy.

Additional image credits:

Designer Desire: Charles Levier

Mosaic of Charles Levier artworks | H is for Home

We’re on the mailing lists of a few national and international auction houses and receive regular alerts about upcoming sales. This week, an email came through from one of them with an image of a lot that immediately caught our eye. It was a painting by Charles Levier (1920-2004).

Levier was Corsican-born, with a French father and American mother. After serving in the French army during the 2nd World War, he divided his time between France and the USA. Examples of his work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Atlanta Museum, the Seattle Museum and the San Diego Museum amongst others. His works were collected by celebrities such as Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Baron Edmond de Rothschild and Dean Martin.

His work reminds us a bit of Geoffrey Key, Peter Stanaway but mainly Bernard Buffet.

He seems to have been hugely prolific and his work is easy to acquire. The price of his original oils vary widely depending on size and subject matter; they’ve sold for anything from $400 to almost $10,000.

Have a look on eBay, Etsy and 1st Dibs for examples currently for sale.

Portrait of Charles Leviercredit

Designer Desire: John Burningham

Mosaic of John Burningham illustrations | H is for Home

Lyon & Turnbull is holding an auction next week (28th Feb 2018) which includes some fabulous original artworks from John Burningham’s own personal collection. I thought it would be a good opportunity to feature a few of them as part of our weekly Designer Desire series.

If we had the spare cash, I’d love to own one or two of the ones that are up for sale from John Burningham’s ABC, a lovely children’s book first published by Jonathan Cape in 1964 – estimates for these range from £1,000 – £2,000.

His most famous illustrations for a children’s book is surely Ian Fleming’s (he of 007 fame) Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. Other books of his own include Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with no Feathers (1963), Trubloff: The Mouse Who Wanted to Play the Balalaika (1964), Cannonball Simp (1966), Harquin: The Fox Who Went Down to the Valley (1968) and Mr Gumpy’s Outing (1970).

Although best known for his books, he also produced poster designs for London Transport and British Transport and magazine covers for periodicals such as Punch.

Just this month, Burningham and his wife Helen Oxenbury received BookTrust’s first ever joint lifetime achievement award.

Portrait of John Burningham | Maria Spann ©credit

Designer Desire: Eric Fraser

Mosaic of Eric Fraser illustrations | H is for Home

Eric Fraser (1902-1983) was one of the leading lights of 20th century book & magazine illustration and poster design.

He was commissioned to produce illustrations by a range of magazines including Punch, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Pall Mall and the Radio Times. He designed book covers and page illustrations for, amongst others, Collins, Cassell, Everyman, The Scientific Book Club and the Folio Society. He also designed posters (and stamps) for the Post Office; publicity material for the London Underground and in 1931, he created ‘Mr Therm’ for the Gas Light & Coke Company (the pre-cursor to British Gas).

There are a a couple of interesting-looking books about the man and his work; The Graphic Works of Eric Fraser by Alex Davies (1974) and Eric Fraser: Designer and Illustrator by Sylvia Backemeyer (1998). There’s also an exhibition catalogue – covering the entirety of his career – that you can view online here.

For the life of me I couldn’t find a single photo of the man – just this (small) self-portrait he did in 1949.

Self-portrait by Eric Frasercredit

Additional image credits:

Chris Beetles Gallery

Designer Desire: Heikki Orvola

Mosaic of Heikki Orvola designs | H is for Home

Heikki Orvola (b.1943) is at the vanguard of Finnish design. He works primarily in glass and ceramics and has produced designs for Notsjö Nuutajärvi, Arabia, Marimekko and Iittala. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Kaj Franck prize.

His designs are readily available on Etsy, eBay and the Scandinavian Design Center.

Portrait of Heikki Orvolacredit

Additional image credits:

1stDibs | Bukowskis | Invaluable