With close links to the artists, Sworder's Modern British Art sale this month celebrates the artistic community of the 1930's, which managing director Guy Schooling argues, rivals St Ives for talent, inspiration and importance.

The artists’ open-house exhibitions of the 1950's attracted national and international media attention as the idea of viewing modern art in a remote country setting caught visitors’ imagination.

As a keen supporter of the Fry Art Gallery in nearby Saffron Walden, where the Great Bardfield artists now find their spiritual home, Schooling has a particularly close affinity with this community of art and judges 2016 to be the year when they will finally break through to a new level of recognition, which will bring these artists the same recognition as the likes of Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, sculptor Barbara Hepworth and potter Bernard Leach.

The Great Bardfield works will headline Sworder's inaugural Modern British Art sale on 12th April, with one of the most important works being a Ravilious watercolour.

The James and The Foremost Prince, signed and dated August 1934, were created three years after Ravilious (1903-42) and Edward Bawden (1903-89) first moved to Great Bardfield, creating the core of what was to become a unique community of artists.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 11.31.29 Eric Ravilious, The Hames and The Foremost Prince, signed and dated August 1934

The works were part of the Imperial War Museum's 'Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities, A Centenary Exhibition’ in 2003 to 2004, which celebrated his work as a war artist. Sadly, in 1842, Ravilious died in a plane crash off Iceland aged just 39.

“Prices for some of the biggest names in Modern British art have gone stratospheric in recent years, so collectors are turning their attention to the next phase, and all the signs are that the Great Bardfield community’s time has come,” says Guy.

“Ravilious and Bawden are already well established, but interest is rising fast in the likes of John Aldridge, Kenneth Rowntree and Walter Hoyle.''

“This is very much our local art movement and we have very strong ties with it, as we do with other notable East Anglian names like Cedric Morris, so it is an exciting time for us.''

“The artists, while cooperating with exhibitions and open studios, were determinedly not ‘a school’ and had no manifesto. It would perhaps be most accurate to refer to them as North West Essex artists. The tradition survives to this day, lead by Richard Bawden and Chloe Cheese, amongst others.”

Sworders’ sale will also feature Elizabeth Wright studio works, a Lowry sketch and pieces by Mary Newcomb. Check out the full catalogue on Barnebys here.

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