BB art



Brangwyn received his first mural commission in 1895 when he was only 28 and completed his last mural in 1947 when he was 80 years old. In those 50 years he had received over 20 mural commissions and his completed works cover over 2,000 sq m (1/2 acre of canvas).

In general his murals were well balanced, orchestrated by strong horizontals and verticals, figures were outlined in blue, the scale was consistent throughout, and the compositions empathised with the architectural setting. Brangwyn painted only 2 murals in situ, Galeries L'Art Nouveau, Paris and Casa Cuseni, Taormina.

The following lists Brangwyn's major mural commissions, placed in date order. The number in brackets following the title of each Brangwyn work indicates the number by which the work is identified in the Catalogue Raisonne.

Galeries l’Art Nouveau, 22 Rue de Provence, Paris (M2449)
Keim’s process on canvas
Two friezes, each 5486cm (180ft) long on exterior of building, together with scattered stencil decorations on the ground floor.
Commissioned by Siegfried Bing. Brangwyn painted the murals in situ, the upper one depicting potters, the lower one intertwined leaves and foliage. They were removed shortly after the premises were sold to Majorelle Freres of Nancy in June 1904.

Davis bedroomLansdowne House, 11-13 Lansdowne Road, Kensington (A2604)
Commissioned by Sir Edmund and Lady Davis to design a complete bedroom interior, which included a painted frieze below the ceiling depicting an allegory of the seasons, and the months of the year dividing the wall panelling below. The paintings were removed more than 12 years later. Brangwyn also painted a frieze around three sides of the music room which measured 12x13 metres (39ft 4inx42ft 7in), but his use of bitumen caused the paintings to darken and they were removed.
Davis bedroom, photograph from The Studio, Vol 19, April 1900

St Mary’s Chapel, Westminster Cathedral, London (M2198)
Brangwyn was asked to submit drawings for a mosaic in the barrel vault in the chapel, but his assistant Laurence Bradshaw claimed that the architect of the cathedral, J F Bentley, rejected the designs.

Thurston& Co Ltd, London (A2608)
Brangwyn was commissioned to design a complete interior decoration for a billiard room by Thurstons – probably for a private client. The artist’s designs included a painted frieze representing a rural idyll.

Design for Thurstons, image courtesy Liss Fine Art

British Rooms, Venice Biennale (A1337)
Bienalle 1905Oil, turpentine and added wax on canvas
2 panels each measuring 165.1x541cm (5ft 5inx17ft 9in) titled Navvies at Work and Rolling Mill, 2 panels each measuring 165.1x205.7cm (5ft 5inx6ft 9in) titled Blacksmiths and Potters
Commissioned by Antonio Fradeletto, General Secretary of the Biennale. The murals were part of a complete scheme of interior decoration designed by Brangwyn, who gained a Gold medal for his work. The panels were purchased by Samuel Wilson who donated them to the Leeds City Art Gallery together with one further panel commissioned by Wilson in 1906, Spinners, measuring 165.1x541cm (5ft 5inx17ft 9in). Unfortunately none of the panels are currently being displayed.
Design for 1905 Biennale, photograph from The Studio, Vol 34, May 1905

Palazzo Rezzonico, Venice (A2605)
Brangwyn was commissioned to design a dining room interior for Count Lionel Hirschel di Minerbi, which included a painted frieze either showing either a rural idyll or the months of the year, or perhaps similar in composition to Brangwyn’s oil painting Cider Press (O222). However the two men disagreed and the scheme never came to fruition.

Modern Commerce, Royal Exchange, Bank, City of London (M1136)
Roberson’s spirit fresco
One panel measuring 533.4x335.3cm (17ft 6inx11ft)
Commissioned by Sir Thomas Lane Devitt. The Royal Exchange is now a public building and Brangwyn’s panel, above the main entrance, can be seen from the mezzanine floor. For location and opening hours see Royal Exchange.

British Rooms, Venice Biennale (A2606)
Medium unknown
2 panels each measuring 165.1x541cm (5ft 5ix17ft 9in) titled Venetian Commerce and Venetian Serenaders, 2 panels each measuring 165.1x205.7cm (5ft 5inx6ft 9in) titled Agricultural Labourers and Miners (Steel Workers)
Brangwyn was asked to repeat the success of the 1905 British Rooms. The interior remained as it was two years previously, Brangwyn adding new murals, the fate of which is unknown, presumed destroyed.

Casa CuseniCasa Cuseni, Taormina, Sicily (A2607)
Tempera frieze
172x1960cm (5ft 7inx66ft)
Commissioned by Brangwyn’s friend, pupil and patron R H Kitson to design a complete interior decoration for the dining room. Brangwyn painted the frieze in situ, groups of figures separated by abstract paintwork. The house remained in the family until 2008.

Detail of freize, photograph private collection

1902-1910 (1937)
Great Hall of the Worshipful Company of Skinners, Dowgate Hill, London (M1139)
Skinners photoOil on canvas
6 panels measuring 289.6x320cm (9ft 6inx10ft 6in), 4 panels measuring 289.6x152.4cm (9ft 6inx5ft 3in), Harmony in Gallery measures 152.5x365cm (5ftx12ft).
Four further panels, each measuring 289.6x152.4cm (9ft 6inx5ft 3in), were installed in 1937.
The commission was gained through Sir Thomas Lane Devitt, twice Master of the Skinners’ Company. The murals depict episodes in the history of the Company from the 13th to 17th centuries, whilst the 1937 additions symbolize Education and Charity. To view the murals contact the Beadle or the Hall.
Branwgyn’s original panel for the Gallery, Fruits of Industry (M4690) is now in the Mildura Art Centre, Victoria, Australia (acquisition # M76). For opening hours see Mildura Arts Centre.
Brangwyn and his assistants putting the finishing touches to Skinners Hall panels, c 1909, photograph courtesy Liss Fine Art

Canadian Grand Trunk Railway Offices, Cockspur Street, London (M2341)
Tempera on heavy jute canvas
Grand TrunkOne panel measuring 137.2x2194.6cm (4ft 6inx72ft)
Brangwyn probably gained the commission through his friend, the architect Sir Aston Webb, who designed the offices. The mural depicted the Introduction of European Civilization into the Country of the Red Indian. The canvas was removed in 1975 and donated to the Canadian Government two years later. After restoration in1981 it was placed in the Ante Chamber of the Canadian Government Conference Center, 2 Rideau Street, Ottawa (formerly the Grand Trunk Railway Station). To view the panels contact the Concierge or for opening hours
Canadian Grand trunk railway Offices, c1910, photograph in private collection

Committee Luncheon Room, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, Fenchurch Street, London (M2619)
Tempera on canvas
Ghent4 panels measuring 137.2x121.9cm (4ft 6inx4ft), 4 panels measuring 137.2x243.8cm (4ft 6inx8ft), 2 panels measuring 137.2x91.4cm (4ft 6inx3ft), lunette measuring 243.8x670.6cm (8ftx22ft)
The commission was gained through Sir Thomas Lane Devitt, then Chairman of Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. The panels, illustrating porters in the London docks, were removed in the late 1960s, stored and subsequently lost. Prior to being placed in Lloyd’s the rectangular panels were exhibited in the Brangwyn Room at the Ghent International Exhibition (A2292), 1913. A lunette measuring 477x508cm (15ft 6inx16ft 7in), painted especially for this exhibition, is now at Mildura Arts Centre, Victoria, Australia (titled Boilermakers [Steelworkers]), acquisition # M77). For opening hours see Mildura Arts Centre.
Lloyd's panels and Boilermakers in the Brangwyn Room, Ghent, 1913, photograph in private collection

Court of the Ages (also known as the Court of Abundance), Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, USA (M1323)
Oil on absorbant coarse textured jute canvas
8 panels each measuring 762x365.8cm (25x12ft)
Jules Geurin, Director of Colour for the Exposition chose Brangwyn to paint murals for the 1915 Exposition – the only non-American artist to participate. The panels represented the elements - earth, air, fire and water. In 1932 they were placed in the Herbst Theater, War Veterans Memorial Building, Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, USA. To view the panels click here.

Horton House Billiard Room, Northampton (A1178)
Oil on canvas
Freize 200x3743.8cm (6ft 6inx122ft 10in)
HortonHCommissioned by George Harold Winterbottom. The murals were removed and sold in 1936 and purchased by The Fine Art Society. Brangwyn carried out some restoration work on the canvas and divided it into ten sections, one of which Fisherfolk, 192x128cm (6ft 3inx4ft 2in) is in a private collection, the others are located as follows (unfortunately none of them are on display):
Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand: Quayside Porters, 197x486cm (6ft 5inx15ft 11in) (acquisition # 7-1951); Unloading the Catch, 200.5x575cm (6ft 6inx18ft 10in) (acquisition # 8-1951); Vineyard Workers Resting, 195.5x558cm (6ft 5inx18ft 3in) (acquisition # 10-1951; Venetian Serenaders, 195x478cm (6ft 4inx15ft 8in) (acquisition # 9-1951);
Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand: Mediterranean Market, 194.9x388.7cm (6ft 4inx12ft 9in) (acquisition # 1951-0005-1); Card Players, 198.1x389.3cm (6ft 6inx12ft 9in) (acquisition # 1951-0005-2)
William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest: Musician, 197.7x192.9cm (6ft 6inx6ft 4in) (acquisition # O111); Washerwomen, 197.7x193.9cm (6ft 6inx6ft 4in)
Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield: Loading the Boat, 194x130cm (6ft 4inx4ft 3in)
Part of the freize in situ, Horton House, photograph in private collection

Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Cleveland, Ohio, USA (M1142)
Oil mixed with wax on canvas
Lunette, maximum dimensions 457.2x1524cm (15x50ft)
Brangwyn was asked by the building’s architect, Charles F Schweinfurth, to design the panel, titled King John Signing Magna Carta. The lunette is extant and the building still operates as a working courthouse.

St Aidan’s Church, Roundhay Road, Leeds (M1108)
StARust’s vitreous mosaic
90 sq m (900 sq ft) apse, 27.9sq m (279 sq ft) sea wall
The commission was gained through Robert Hawthorn Kitson. Arguably the most spectacular mosaic murals in the country, depicting the life of St Aidan. To view the murals contact the church or Barrie Pepper, the Church Communications Officer.

The apse, St Aidan's, photograph in private collection

Manitoba Legislative Building, Winnipeg, Canada (M1403)
Flat oil on canvas
Lunette, maximum dimensions 457.2x670.6cm (15x22ft)
The mural depicts Canada’s War Record and details of tours can be found here.

Brangwyn working on the Winnipeg lunette, c1920, photograph in private collection

Stations of the Cross, Leper Asylum, Westfort, Pretoria, South Africa (S3546)
Tempera on canvas
14 panels each measuring 81x104cm (31 7/8x41in)
The murals were commissioned by Father Thomas Ryan and were later moved to his new church of St George in Saulsville, Pretoria. However they were considered rather incongruous and were taken down. They are now stored at the Archbishop’s residence in Pretoria.

CHMChrist’s Hospital, Horsham, Sussex (M1109)
Egg tempera on canvas
14 panels each measuring 243.8x426.7cm (8x14ft) and 2 panels measuring 243.8x213.4cm (8x7ft)
Brangwyn probably gained the commission through his friend, the architect, Sir Aston Webb, who, with his partner E Ingress Bell, was the architect for the school. The murals, on the subject of the Mission and Expansion of Christianity, beginning with the Acts of the Apostles and leading to the Conversion of our own Islands, and Foreign Missionary Work are placed in the school chapel. For permission to view contact Tony Hogarth-Smith.
Interior of the chapel, photograph in private collection

Dome decoration, Selfridge’s. Oxford Street, London (M2157)
Mosaic decoration
Dome measured 21 metres (70ft) in diameter
Commissioned by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The subject was, appropriately, the Trade of the World. Unfortunately the plan was unexecuted because the London County Council feared that the weight of the mosaic might damage the underground railway.

Detail of sketch for Selfridge's, private collection, image courtesy Liss Fine Art

Stations of the Cross, Arras Cathedral (S3545)
Oil on canvas
14 panels each measuring approximately 104x142cm (41x55 7/8in) (extant panels vary in size)
Brangwyn was recommended for the task by his friend Theophile Steinlen. The Stations were to be placed in Arras and reproductions would be distributed to other war damaged churches. The project was never completed, possibly because Steinlen and Brangwyn’s wife Lucy both died in 1924. Studies or completed panels for 11 of the Stations exist, some in private collections, but there are completed panels at the Arents House, Bruges (acquisition numbers 0.776, 0.762, 0.792). These works are not necessarily on permanent display so check with the Museum first.

Missouri State Capitol, Jefferson City, USA (M1135)
Flat oil on canvas
Eye of dome canvas measured 1097.3cm (36ft) in diameter, 4 pendentives each 731.5 cm high (24ft), 1463cm (48ft) wide at top and 457cm (15ft) wide at base; eight lower dome panels each approximately 487.7x853.4cm (16x28ft)
The dome canvas depicts Agriculture, Commerce, Science and Education; the four pendentives Missouri in Four Great Historical Periods, and the lower dome panels illustrate Earth, Wind, Air, Water, Agriculture, Science, Education and Art. Tours of the building are available.

S S Empress of Britain (A1822)
Empress muralProbably painted on silvered boards, varnished with gold size
Forward mural: 3 panels each measuring 402x149.9cm (13ft 2inx4ft 11in). Aft mural: 2 panels each measuring 401.3x118.1cm (13ft 2inx3ft 10in) and 1 panel measuring 195.6x304.8cm (6ft 1inx10ft). Port and starboard galleries: 2 panels each measuring 226.1x716.4cm (7ft 5inx23ft 10in)
Commissioned by Canadian Pacific for the 1st class dining room, the Salle Jacques Cartier. The murals, entitled A Vision of the Lavish Gifts of Mother Earth, were part of a complete interior decoration scheme by Brangwyn. The vessel was requisitioned as a troop carrier during the war and Brangwyn’s panels were lost when she was attacked by a German bomber plane and submarine in October 1940.
Brangwyn painting one of the panels for SS Empress of Britain, c1930, photograph in private collection

British Empire panels (M1145)
BEOil and tempera on canvas
10 panels measuring 365x365cm (12x12ft) and 6 panels measuring 610x396 cm (20x13ft) making a total of 300 sq m (3,000 sq ft)
Commissioned by Lord Iveagh for the Royal Gallery, Westminster but, after Iveagh’s death in 1927, the Royal Fine Art Commission insisted on viewing the projected work. Five of the panels were temporarily hung in the Royal Gallery and were rejected by the Commission. They are now housed in the Brangwyn Hall, Guildhall, Swansea. The Guildhall is a public building; to view the murals check beforehand whether the Hall is in use.

How the panels would have looked if they had been placed in the Royal Gallery, Westminster

Mural Panels 1 and 2 (M2293)
Oil on canvas
2 panels each measuring 279x147cm (9ft 1inx4ft 9in)
It is not known for whom or where these panels were destined, but they are now in the collection of Mildura Arts Centre, Victoria, Australia (acquisition # M78/79). For opening hours see Mildura Arts Centre.

Diptych (M1925)
Oil on canvas
One panel measuring 279.4x168.9cm (9ft 2inx5ft 6in) and the second panel measuring 279.4x146.1 (9ft 2inx4ft 9in)
The panels may have been intended for a University, and may be related to Murals 1 and 2 above, but the commission has, so far, been unidentified. Private collection.

Rowley ExtRowley Gallery Façade, 140-142 Kensington Church Street, London (A1854)
Carved pierced teak panels
3 panels each measuring 203.2x266.8x3.5cm (6ft 7inx22ft 2in x 1 1/2in)
Commissioned by Brangwyn’s friend Albert James Rowley. Panels were part of an architectural façade designed by Brangwyn. They were hit by an incendiary bomb in 1941, and discovered years later by Sam Alper who bought and sensitively repaired them. They can now be seen in the Great Barn, Chilford Hall, Cambridge.

Guildhall, Kingston-upon-Hull (M1360)
Brangwyn offered to produce murals for the Banqueting Hall of the Guildhall, illustrating Hull’s development in trade and commerce, as a gift to the town, since he was a friend of Vincent Galloway, the curator of the Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston-upon-Hull. Apparently the designs were not well received and the murals were not executed.

GE (previously RCA) Building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, USA (M1110)
FB on RCATempera on coarse canvas
4 panels each measuring 518.2x762cm (17ftx25ft)
Commissioned by John D Rockefeller Jr. Brangwyn was given the subject, Man’s new relationship to society and his fellow men, his family relationships, his relationships as a worker, his relationships as part of a government and his ethical and religious relationships. The GE building is open to the public and the panels are placed round the lift shafts in the south corridor. Tours of the Rockefeller Center are organised.

Brangwyn working on one of the Rockefeller panels, photograph courtesy Liss Fine Art

Odham’s Press, Long Acre, London (M1878)
OdhamsOil on tempera canvas washed-in with tempera
Lunette, maximum dimensions 396.2x548.6cm (13ftx18ft)
Commissioned by Lord Southwood. The lunette was placed in the entrance hall of Odham’s Press, the theme, appropriately enough, being The Printed Word Makes the People of the World One. The building was demolished in 1973, but the lunette was saved and is currently in a private collection in Canada.

Odham's Press lunette, private collection

Marist College, The Avenue, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough (M1179)
Oil on canvas
One panel measuring 94x387.4cm (3ftx12ft 6in)
Commissioned by Father John W Jones, art master at St Mary’s College, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough. The mural, in the Holy Name of Mary Church, depicts the Last Supper and Brangwyn did not charge for the work. It was slightly damaged by fire in March 1998 but still hangs behind the altar. For viewing click here.

St Joseph’s, Stokesley (M1825)
Oil on canvas
One panel measuring 137.2x401.3cm (4ft 6inx13ft)
The mural, depicting the Last Supper, was commissioned by Father John McDonnell. The church and contents were destroyed by fire in 1974. Brangwyn may also have painted a Transfiguration for the church in 1948 (M324).