In 1891, Brangwyn toured Northern Spain in the company of Arthur Melville. Walter Sparrow writes that: ‘They saw Huesca, where the old kings of Aragon used to live ; they visited Huren, driving thence by Agerbe, through the pine forests of the Serra de Quarra, to ancient Jacca. Jacca, which claims to be the oldest town in Spain, would not allow them to sketch, its fortifications being under military law ; and the painters at last hired an old carriage to drive over the Pyrenees into France, intend- ing to return thence into Spain, this being the cheapest and swiftest route.’
Brangwyn produced a number of pen and ink sketches to illustrate Brangwyn’s Pilgrimage, by William de Belleroche. This particular drawing records the devastation caused by the earthquake on 28 December 1908 at Messina, Sicily, when the shore sank by 16ft. 5ins. overnight and 84,000 people lost their lives. Brangwyn visited the site and made numerous sketches of the area when he visited his friend R. H. Kitson in Taormina, Sicily, in 1909.
We are grateful to Dr Libby Horner and Rob Watson for her assistance.