The British Empire panels were commissioned by the Earl of Iveagh to decorate the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords, Westminster. Following the death of Iveagh, the Fine Art Commission insisted on some panels being placed temporarily in the Gallery. They rejected the work as did the House of Lords. Brangwyn completed the commission which was eventually exhibited at the Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia. Offers for the panels were received from the USA and Japan, and British cities including Birmingham, Cardiff and London attempted to gain the murals. However, a new Guildhall was being designed for Swansea and the city persuaded Iveagh’s son and Brangwyn that the panels could be successfully accommodated in the main hall, now known as the Brangwyn Hall.
There are over 100 studies for the British Empire panels in public galleries in the UK and Australia, the largest collection being in Swansea, at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and the Guildhall.
Some of Brangwyn’s finest studies are those he made for these panels. He told his friend RH Kitson that he was working from flowers, trees, animals, (…) women and children. It is very interesting more especially the animals and a grand chance for me to take up animals and landscape and do it finely. It never has really been done only a bit here and there.’