Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956)   BIOGRAPHY

Field Hospital in France, circa 1914
Framed (ref: 6061)
Signed in the plate
Original lithographic poster printed by the Avenue Press
200 x 150 cm.


Lit:  Shaw Sparrow, 1919, p194; Marechal, 1987, p151
Ill:  Avenue Press, 1916; Vita d’Arte, Tosatto Augusto Casimiro, ‘Frank BrangwynCartellonista di Guerra’, Vol XV, No 104, August 1916; Avenue Press, 1920, p4; Marechal, 1987, p151; Horner, Brangwyn at War, Goldmark, 2014.
Exh:  Chicago, 2011

The vehicle in the background might be a horse-drawn or motor ambulance which were used for transporting wounded (at the start of the war the army had only 80 motor vehicles but each infantry division had 5,600 horses for its 18,000 men).  

The image must have been popular because the Avenue Press, titling the work Field Hospital in France, also produced 15 lithographic prints on extra quality paper, 96.5x147.5cm (38x58in), printed in black, red and buff, each signed copy selling for 15 guineas in May 1916 (same price in 1920).  Poster prints 101.5x152.5cm (40x60in) printed in the same colours cost one guinea each.  Lettering sheets for the top and bottom, designed by Brangwyn and limited to 50 sets sold for 5s.  

This is the only known surviving example of the poster with the text banners

Although Shaw Sparrow noted that the lithograph borrowed from Brangwyn’s brush drawing and wood engraving methods, and felt this provided a new zest and style for poster art, admitted that otherwise the design left him cold.

Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956)

Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges, Belgium, the son of an English father and Welsh mother. The family returned to London in 1874, Brangwyn's father gaining work as a designer of buildings, embroideries and furniture. Although Brangwyn appears to have had little formal education, whether academic or artistic, his earliest mentors were three of the most influential men in design at the turn of the century: Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo, William Morris and Siegfried Bing. Between 1884 and 1887 Brangwyn travelled to Kent, Cornwall and Devon, before venturing further with trips to Turkey in 1888, South Africa in 1891, Spain in 1892 and Morocco in 1893. Brangwyn was an independent artist, an experimenter and innovator, capable of working on both large and small scale projects, ranging from murals, oil paintings, watercolours, etchings, woodcuts and lithographs to designs for architecture, interiors, stained glass, furniture, carpets, ceramics and jewellery, as well as book illustrations, bookplates and commercial posters. It is estimated that he produced over 12,000 works during his lifetime. Mural commissions included the Worshipful Company of Skinners, London (1902-09), St Aidan's church, Leeds (1908-16), Manitoba Legislative Building, Winnipeg, Canada (1918-21), Christ's Hospital, Horsham (1912-23), State Capitol, Jefferson City, USA (1915-25), the British Empire panels, Swansea (1925-32), and Rockefeller Center, New York (1930-34). Brangwyn married Lucy Ray in 1896 and took on the lease of Temple Lodge, Hammersmith, in 1900. In 1918 the artist purchased The Jointure, Ditchling, where he spent most of his time following his wife's death in 1924. Elected RA in 1919, knighted in 1924, holder of countless artistic awards, Brangwyn was modest about his singular achievements, regarding art as an occupation and describing himself as a designer.

See all works by Frank Brangwyn