John Aldridge RA
(1905-1983)

John Aldridge moved to Great Bardfield , Essex in 1933 having been educated at Uppingham school and read "classics" at Corpus Christi College Oxford. Unlike Bawden and Ravilious he had little  interest in commercial art and very much focused on painting in oils that he knew and loved.This led to a number of works which depicted  the rural scenes and landscapes close to the Essex village of Great Bardfield. The fact that  he was not involved in as much of the innovative design of the post war period is perhaps why he is less well known than Bawden and Ravilious , but he did collaborate with Bawden on a series of high-quality wallpaper designs that became known as "Bardfield Papers". His work  was generally  considered to be of such high quality he became a ARA in 1954 and a full Academician in 1963. Aldridge was at the forefront of the Great Bardfield open house exhibitions which became a huge success with people coming in their thousands to view new work for sale and to have a look round the very innovatively decorated homes of the artist. It is said that the locals were rather perplexed at the influx of visitors but soon worked out that running parallel events in the village could prove rather lucrative. The press came to view the events in 1951,54,55 and 58 and I have no doubt assisted in keeping the local  hostelries tills full. Indeed the village is still thriving and , where most village pubs and amenities have closed in rural villages, here thanks to the notoriety of the Artists, the draw to the village maintains the infrastructure. A testament to the love of the artists even to this day. Aldridge was the one artist to stay living in the village for 50 years  until he passed away in 1983.

Link to Fry Art Gallery    ...........a must visit if you are in Saffron Walden

Read our BLOG ..........scroll down the page to the date 7th december 2015 and  get the full story about this particularly  important painting.