Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956)   BIOGRAPHY

 SOLD
 
Orphenlinat des Armees
Unmounted (ref: 6062)
Lithographic poster, 
60 x 40 in. (152.5 x 101.4), 
printed by Avenue Press, London

 



At the start of the First World War, more than a million Belgian refugees fled the advancing armies, seeking sanctuary abroad.  Around 250,000 made it to England – one of the largest groups of refugees in British history - and found a sympathetic welcome. Local relief committees formed all over the country, raising funds to sustain them during their time in exile.
The exhibition takes its title from a poster designed by Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) for the Belgian & Allies Aid League. “Will you help these sufferers from the war to start a new home”, it asks. “Help is better than sympathy.”
Bruges-born Brangwyn, already a well-known and successful artist before 1914, became a prolific poster-maker during the war and his designs became synonymous with First World War propaganda. Many present the horrors of the war, while others aim to recruit soldiers and vilify the enemy.  One propaganda poster in particular was so violent that the German Kaiser allegedly put a price on Brangwyn’s head.
Help is better than sympathy presents some of Brangwyn’s best known posters, including ‘The Retreat from Antwerp’, alongside lesser known work. Shown together they offer an opportunity to examine Brangwyn’s attitude to the First World War, and the Belgian refugees in particular, using the Gallery’s rich collection.



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