Brangwyn’s travels in the 1880s and 1890s were tremendously form¬≠ative, educating the artist and providing both immediate and future inspiration. For example, his early works were marine paintings depict¬≠ing the British coastline; serene landscapes were the result of Italian sojourns; voluptuous, almost claustrophobic market scenes were inspired by his North African trips.
According to the Brangwyn expert Dr Horner historians have, in the past, mistakenly categorized Brangwyn’s out¬≠put based entirely on an assumed change of colour palette following either the artist’s trip to Turkey in 1888 or his 1892 sketching holiday with Arthur Melville in Spain. However, on closer inspection, it is appar¬≠ent that he discovered colour prior to 1888 and was still producing som¬≠bre toned works in the 1900s.
Brangwyn’s use of colour was sensual and empirical, not academic, considered or theoretical and the differences of tone, light and shadow can more pertinently be attributed to Brangwyn’s acute observation of, and enthusiasm for, the natural world; not just the vast panoply, but also the minute detail as recorded by the Pre¬≠ Raphaelites ‚Äî he simply painted what lie saw. Thus his English oils are usually characterized by a pale iridescence, the Venetian works a palette ranging from soft warm yellow¬≠pink to dark red and orange, the South African series show land bleached by the sun and in the Middle Eastern and North African paintings sizzling red, orange and yellow colours are heightened by dusky shadows.
We are grateful to Dr Libby Horner for assistance.