Peyton Skipwith

Treasures from the Well

With the closure in September of the Edward Bawden exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, which was seen by over 39,000 visitors, I was delighted to be able to once again leaf through some of the treasured books that I had lent, including East Coasting, a wittily illustrated booklet with text by Dell Leigh, published by the Curwen Press in 1931 for the London and North Eastern Railway. The title page, with its vignettes of prancing prawns, girls en déshabillé, old salts and a mermaid dragging an unsuspecting tourist to a watery grave, encapsulates so much of Bawden’s humour, which was always droll and often slightly macabre.

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