Spinning Yarn - Old Sailors' Stories<br>
Verso: Oil sketch of ships in an harbor, 1887

Sir Frank Brangwyn

(Brügge 1867 - 1956 Sussex)

Spinning Yarn - Old Sailors' Stories
Verso: Oil sketch of ships in an harbor
, 1887

Oil on canvas
97 x 130,5 cm

Signed and dated lower left : "1887 F. Brangwyn"

Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) is a reknown English realist, whose long carrier started in 1880. Our painting Spinning Yarn - Old Sailor´s Stories appears in the complete catalogue of Vincent Gallaway (The Oils and Murals of Sir frank Brangwyn R. A. 1867 - 1956, Leigh-on-Sea, 1962, no. 629). The author knows neither where the painting is situated nor when it was made ("around 1889").
As the son of English parents born in Bruges, Brangwyn acquainted himself early with the prints of the Belgian realists (Degroux). From 1882 until 1884 he worked for the workshop of William Morris, the famous founder of the "Arts and Craft Movement". There he copied tapestries and designed ornamental murals.
However, this sort of decorative work did not satisfy him so he left his employer shortly after and settled in a small fishermen?s village for the coming years (without losing contact with comfortable London). His fame was established during these years and our painting was executed in this time. He shared the life of the fishermen, accompanied them in their journeys, spent evenings with them and painted their lives. The biographers of the artist emphasize how Brangwyn identified with the hard life of the simple fishermen.
Since 1885, his paintings hang in the Royal Academy where his hard, non-sentimental perception is admired. His moving painting The Rescue (1886, Warrington Museum and Art Gallery) was purchased by an English ship owner who persuaded him to take part in a voyage on the Mediterranean Sea. Exhibited in Peking in 2013, where it was met with much acclaim.
Our painting is one of the last created in Sandwich. Painted in bright tones, foreshadowing spring and the landscape in the background, set in tender colors, seems almost Pre-Raphaelite.
The fishermen sit relaxed in the foreground and talk about their adventures at sea. Brangwyn was familiar with the works of Gustave Courbet, Jean François Millet and Alphonse Legros, yet he managed to give his scenes an incomparable vividness. He fortifies the composition through the houses in the background on the left and to the heavy furniture.
Brangwyn remained faithful to the realistic style throughout his life and largely unaffected by the art movements of the 20th century.
Text: David Mandrella 18.02.2019

Vincent Galloway, The Oils and murals of Sir Frank Brangwyn R. A. 1867 - 1956, Leigh-on-Sea, 1962, no. 629

Private collection, Austria
Dorotheum, Vienna, auction April 23, 2015, lot 1219