'The Great Bardfield Artists were a community of artists who lived in Great Bardfield, a village in north west Essex, England, during the middle years of the 20th century.
The principal artists who lived there between 1930 and 1970 were John Aldridge RA, Edward Bawden, George Chapman, Stanley Clifford-Smith, Audrey Cruddas, Walter Hoyle, Eric Ravilious, Sheila Robinson, Michael Rothenstein, Kenneth Rowntree and Marianne Straub. Other artists associated with the group include Duffy Ayers, John Bolam, Bernard Cheese, Tirzah Garwood, Joan Glass, David Low and Laurence Scarfe. Great Bardfield Artists were diverse in style but shared a love for figurative art, making the group distinct from the better known St Ives School of artists in St Ives, Cornwall, who, after the war, were chiefly dominated by abstractionists.
During the 1950s the Great Bardfield Artists organised a series of large ‘open house’ exhibitions which attracted national and international press attention. Positive reviews and the novelty of viewing modernist art works in the artists own homes led to thousands visiting the remote village during the summer exhibitions of 1954, 1955 and 1958. As well as these large shows the Great Bardfield Artists held exhibitions of their work in Cambridge (1956) and Bristol (1959). The artists also organised a multi-city tour of England and Ireland during 1957 & 1958. The early 1960s saw the majority of the Great Bardfield artists leave the village.'
There's a blue plaque commemorating Eric Ravilious in Castle Hedingham a neighbouring village to Sible Hedingham where friends live.
They alerted me to this latest exhibition at Braintree Museum of the Great Bardfield artists which runs until 15 April, it's called 'Life in an English Village'
It's well worth having a look if you're able to do so, there are some lovely things collected together in one place. It's interesting that these artists had 'open house' in the 1950s, a forerunner of our open studios.