Frank Brangwyn:
The Printed Word Makes the People of the World One, mural for the entrance hall of Odham Press, London, 1935-36

Framed (ref: 5478)

Oil on tempera canvas washed-in with tempera,
396.2 x 548.6 cm (156 x 216 in.)


Provenance: Odhams Press; Phillips on November 16, 1981, Lot 72; Mr. Drummond; Cider House Galleries; Dr Peter Gaunt; Christie’s, London, June 7, 1990, Lot 27; Lott & Gerrish; Robert Self; private collection Canada.

Exhibited: Japan c. 1976; Kaplan Gallery, London, 1975.

Literature: Galloway Vincent, The Oils and Murals of Frank Brangwyn 1867-1956, Leigh on Sea: F. Lewis, 1962, p75
Duffy Peter, ‘Frank Brangwyn and the curious incidence of art in the Tate’, p44, British Art Journal, Vol VIII, No 1
Ill: Gaunt William, ‘English Painting of Today’, The Studio, Vol 113, June 1937.

In 1935 Brangwyn was commissioned by Lord Southwood (who began life as J.S. Elias, a newspaper boy) to create a lunette decoration (about 180 sq ft) for the main entrance hall of Odham Press, Long Acre, London. Brangwyn’s design with its exotic vegetation, figures bearing baskets of fruit, wild birds and animals is reminiscent of his Empire Panels (1925-32), though additionally figures can be seen reading newspapers and books.
The building was demolished in 1973, but the lunette was saved and sold in auction (Philips on November 16, 1981, Lot 72).

According to Duffy it was offered to the Tate in 1977 and the response was: ‘Though it is certainly a very typical work, I am afraid that there is not much chance of our being interested in buying it.’ Tate 4/2/130/1. The painting was again offered in 1987 and the Tate internal memo read: ‘In theory we need this … but I find the picture rather ridiculous.’ Tate 4/2/130/1.