Fry Art Gallery

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Entrance to the Fry Art Gallery
The gallery adjoins the historic Bridge End Gardens, which were also created by the Gibson family in the 19th century

The Fry Art Gallery is an art gallery in Saffron Walden, Essex. Located on Castle Street, on a path leading down to Bridge End Gardens, it is best known for its displays of work by the Great Bardfield Artists, including Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious.

History of the gallery[edit]

The gallery was designed to house the art collection of Francis Gibson, a local Quaker businessman who died in 1859, and the building passed by descent to the Fry family. In its present form, the gallery was established in 1985 and it is managed by the Fry Art Gallery Society. The Gallery's permanent collection is rotated annually and new works added as well as temporary exhibitions.[1]

The Fry houses work by artists who have local connections with north west Essex.[2] Artists of note include Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Tirzah Garwood (wife of Eric Ravilious), [3] Michael Rothenstein, Michael Ayrton, Paul Beck, Sir George Clausen RA, Robert Colquhoun, Keith Vaughan, John Aldridge, John Bellany RA, Grayson Perry, Robert MacBryde, and the photographer, Edwin Smith.

Work of the Great Bardfield Artists[edit]

Bawden, who with his friend Ravilious discovered Bardfield and became a key figure in the local artists' scene, is well represented in a collection of linocuts, watercolours, posters, ceramics, books and other printed material.[4] The gallery displays watercolours by Ravilious, plus lithographs, books, fabric, ceramics and a collection of woodblocks, as well as two of his scrapbooks.

The gallery has an emphasis on the artists' community which settled in Great Bardfield, during the middle years of the twentieth century.[5] Alongside Bawden and Ravilious, Bardfield artists of note – many of whom having had exhibitions at the Fry – include John Aldridge, Keith Vaughan and Bernard Cheese.[3][6] Other artists linked to the community and shown in previous exhibitions include, Richard Bawden, John Bolam, George Chapman, Stanley Clifford-Smith, Audrey Cruddas, Joan Glass, Walter Hoyle, Sheila Robinson, Michael Rothenstein, Kenneth Rowntree and Marianne Straub.

The gallery tells the story of the artists of Great Bardfield and holds and shows a comprehensive collection of their work. The collection comprises works in oil, on paper, drawings, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, archival material, ceramics, sculpture, glass, books and other printed items. Interactive screens in the gallery and online display over 800 images from the collection.


  1. ^ Oelman, David (4 December 2013). "Small wonders: Fry Art Gallery". Apollo magazine. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  2. ^ staff (20 January 2011). "Fry Art Gallery Buys Striking Eric Ravilious Watercolour with Art Fund Help". Art Daily. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Lambirth, Andrew (2 August 2014). "Why did it take so long to recognise the worth of British folk art?". The Spectator. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Fry Art Gallery". Artfund. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Lambirth, Andrew (23 August 2014). "Fresh airing for artist who loved the outdoors". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "'Exciting' exhibition and new works on display at The Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden". Dunmow Broadcast 24. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 


  • Martin Salisbury (Ed), Artists at the Fry: Art and Design in the North West Essex Collection, Ruskin Press, Cambridge, 2003
  • Artists at the Fry: Art and Design in the North West Essex Collection, Northend Creative Print Solutions, 2012
  • Ravilious at the Fry: A guide to his works in the Fry ARt Gallery, Northend Creative Print Solutions, 2012

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°01′30″N 0°14′16″E / 52.0251°N 0.2378°E / 52.0251; 0.2378