Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956)   BIOGRAPHY

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Santa Maria della salute, 1906
Unmounted (ref: 8480)
Etching, printed posthumously from the original plate
30 x 35 in. (76.2 x 89 cm.)

 


Provenance: Sparrow, Prints and Drawings by Frank Brangwyn, 161


Santa Maria della salute is arguably the most celebrated of all of Brangwyn's prints.  It was awarded the gold medal at the 1907 Venice International Exhibition and the Grand Prize at the 1906 Milan International Exhibition. 


A few etchings have very important names, though the subjects that these names ask us to see, are almost hidden by boats or barges. This joke has been noted by many writers. Frank Newbolt says, for instance: "'The Porte St. Croix at Bruges,' that massive structure of town defence, is dwarfed by enormous barges"; and Henri Marcel is struck by the "Santa Maria della Salute", seen behind the masts and rigging of tall ships fastened to groups of piles. On our right a medley of picturesque anchors and cranes makes a complicated framing for Santa Maria, whose leaden domes stand out rather clearly against the sky. I like this genre. Not only does it blend architectural motifs with sailoring and commercial activities; it suits Brangwyn, and discovers him as much as he discovers its charm and variety.  

Literature: Sparrow, Walter Shaw. Frank Brangwyn and His Work. Boston: Dana Estes, 1911.

Brangwyn is thought to have visited Venice for the first time in 1896. He designed the British Room for the Venice Biennale in 1905 and 1907 and always felt a strong association with the city and its celebrated tradition of painting. In 1922 he illustrated Edward Hutton’s book The Pageant of Venice.  

We are grateful to Dr Libby Horner for assistance.



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