Brangwyn, Frank

(1867 – 1956)

The 2nd Station: Jesus Carries His Cross, c.1934

£6,750.00

Signed with monogram
Original zinc lithographic plate

1 in stock

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Kenneth Center; Michael Campbell; private collection, London

Literature:
Frank Brangwyn, A Mission to Decorate Life, exh. cat.,The Fine Art
Society, London, 2006 (no. 150); The Way of the Cross: An
Interpretation by Frank Brangwyn, London 1935; Frank Brangwyn, Stations of the Cross, Liss Fine Art, 2015, Cat no 3, page 12.

Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.335.

Brangwyn frequently included himself in his compositions: here he is seen supporting Christ and taking the weight of the cross on his back.  And for good measure, on left hand side,  Brangwyn has included his dog Roger.

In the early 1930s Frank Brangwyn told William de Belleroche that he had been thinking of making a set of the Stations of the Cross in lithography. A subject I’ve had at the back of my mind all my life. . . . I’ve always wanted to do this, and have thought about it for years. He thought that lithography was a medium which would suit the work and lend itself to dramatic treatment would make people realise the great tragedy stir up their religious beliefs, their emotions. Brangwyn began the series in 1934, drawing his designs on tracing paper. The drawings were then transferred to zinc lithographic plates by rubbing the back of the paper with red contact and tracing the outline of the image. Brangwyn worked on the zinc plates using a combination of lithographic chalk and etching tools, employing a variety of different methods to gain the exact effect and tonality he required. 

The series was printed in February 1935. Appreciating that The Stations of the Cross would be placed on damp church walls, and having always been keen on innovatory techniques, Brangwyn chose to print two sets on sycamore which are now in the Chapter-Hall of the Benedictine Abbey of St Andrew, Zevenkerken, Bruges and in the Chapel of the Jesuit College, Campion Hall, Oxford where they form an integral part of the wood panelling. A further 16 sets were printed on paper and in 1935 the series was reproduced in a smaller format in The Way of the Cross. An Interpretation by Frank Brangwyn RA, with a commentary by Gilbert Keith Chesterton, who termed Brangwyn one of the most masculine of modern men of genius. As far as is known only one of the 16 lithographic sets was coloured and this was presented to St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough in the 1950s, de-accessioned in 2012. 

The Stations of the Cross follow the tradition of the Flemish painters with whose work Brangwyn would have been familiar having been born in Bruges. The clothing is contemporary which gives the work immediacy, suggesting that the tragedy of the Calvary is never-ending. One is drawn into the story by the strength and proximity of the characters the viewer is made to feel the tragedy as if he were an eye-witness. As Chesterton points out, every face is different; and every face is vigorous, with an ugly energy that is more attractive than vulgar beauty. The man holding the cross in the 5th Station has almost simian features, the praying girl and toddler in the 8th catch our heart-strings, Christ’s mother in the 14th is composed and we admire her restrained pain whilst in the 13th Station Brangwyn himself experiences the weight and enormity of what has occurred. In direct contrast to the bustling crowd is the pale, spiritual, enigmatic figure of Christ, who, as Chesterton points out, is thereby isolated, it does really make the central figure distinguished, in the exact sense of distinct.

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THE ARTIST

Brangwyn, Frank

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.

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Parrot – Original Study for the Great Empire Panels
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Making Sailors: Youthful Ambition c.1917
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Bricklayers, a study for Rebuilding Belgium, 1915
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Sketchbook, 1892
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War Bonds 2 (Back Him Up, Buy War Bonds) W1930, circa 1918
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Study for the Empire Panels in red chalk, circa 1925
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Drapery Study for a Station of the Cross, circa 1933
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Study for central panel of Nativity window, St Mary the Virgin, Bucklebury, Berkshire, early 1920’s
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Study of a Monk, full length three-quarter view, Study for St Aidan
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Man Singing, study for Christ’s Hospital, panel 7
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Studies for St Amand and St Eloi ‘ windows in the Abbey St Andr’, Bruges
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A Trader, Study for Selfridges
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Study of Figure with Vessel, study for Venice Biennale 1905
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Studies of a Kneeling and Seated Man
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Courtier, study for Panel 2, Skinners
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Boy with Globe, study for panel 5, Skinners
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Studies for Man Playing Guitar
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Allegory of War and Industry
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Man Carrying Child on His Back
£2,040.00
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Loot, working proof
£2,200.00
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Man Playing Flute, study for panel 3, Skinners
£1,600.00
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Jesus Falls Below the Cross, 1916
£13,750.00
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Working Men, study for Lloyds Register of Shipping
£4,400.00
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Working photomontage for Man’s Ultimate Destiny, Rockefeller, 1933
£9,750.00
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The 2nd Station: Jesus Carries His Cross, c.1934
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The Begging Musicians, 1930
£6,800.00
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The Mowers, 1912
£7,500.00
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Ship Building, 1912
£5,750.00
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Study for Man the Creator, circa 1932
£35,000.00
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Study for Man the Master 1930-1934
£48,000.00
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King of the Seas – Raleigh, 1924
£1,600.00
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Butchers Shop, 1904
£5,280.00
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Stone Cutters, circa 1921
£14,520.00
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Design for Thurstons for a Billiard Table, circa 1902
£7,920.00
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£975.00