Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956)   BIOGRAPHY

Bridge at Alcantara, Spain
Framed (ref: 5351)

Oil on canvas board, 24 x 30 in. (61 x 76.2 cm.)


Provenance: The Fine Art Society (1962); private collection.

Exhibited: St Ives Society of Artists, Summer 1938
Literature: Vincent Galloway, The Oils and Murals of Sir Frank Brangwyn, Leigh on Sea, Frank Lewis, 1962, no 14.

Bridges were amongst Brangwyn's favourite motifs and were the subjects of some of his most memorable images.  The Bridge, by Christian Barman, published in 1926 reproduces 46 images of Bridges by Brangwyn.

Preliminary sketches for Bridge at Alcantara are in one of Brangwyn's sketchbooks.  Brangwyn also owned a number of photographs of the bridge which may have aided his recollection of details, although none is identical to the viewpoint of this particular oil.

This srtiking composition - recording one of Spain's most celebrated bridges - is composed of a subtle range of brown tones animated by occasional touches of bright yellow, red and green, seen for instance in the canvas hood of the cart crossing the bridge and the clothes of the workman in the foreground who are clearly constructing the walkway below the bridge which still exists today.

In a period flat D section carved and gilded frame with pierced foliate decoration.

We are grateful to Dr Libby Horner for assistance.  The Bridege at Alcantara  will appear as O341 in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné.


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