Frank Brangwyn Biography

Frank Brangwyn




Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges, Belgium on May 12, 1867, to British parents - his father was Welsh - and was brought up and educated in England. His art training was at the Royal College of Art. He was apprenticed to William Morris in 1882. It was Morris’s influence that caused him to diversify his art. He was famous as an accomplished etcher and lithographer and his favourite subjects included powerful depictions of ship building and heavy industry, and the labourers involved in such work. However, his efforts in the fields of design are less well known.

He produced designs for furniture, jewellery, and textiles, and he made some large scale stained glass panels for Tiffany’s. Brangwyn fulfilled many commissions to produce large scale murals for public interior spaces, the most high profile of which was for the House of Commons in London for which he completed 18 large scale panels on the theme of the British Empire which was rejected by the commissioning commitee but became the subject of fierce bidding by many other institutions. To add to his achievements, Brangwyn was also an official war artist during the 1st World War.

He excelled in etching, doing hundreds on a wide variety of subjects. When The Studio started their series of Famous Etchers, you-know-who was #1 (and one of only two artists to be given two volumes). In 1926, The Studio published The Etchings of Frank Brangwyn - a catalogue raisonne, with reproductions of over 330 etchings.

He went on to become the first artist to be honoured with a retrospective at the Royal Academy during his lifetime, in 1952, and he is well represented abroad in countless public collections. There is a museum dedicated to his work in Bruges, and he donated works to the Musée de la Ville at Orange in France in 1947. In England there is also a large collection held at the William Morris Museum in Walthamstow.

Frank Brangwyn died on June 11, 1956 in Sussex, England.