Frank Brangwyn 1867– 1956
Fleet Street, looking towards Ludgate Hill and St.Paul’s c. 1900
Lithograph 15 ¾ × 22 inches (40 × 56 cm)
Signed, and dedicated later in 1913
Brangwyn is described in a well-known online encyclopaedia as an artistic jack-of-all-trades, which is surely to disrespect this Welsh titan of the arts. His output was certainly wide-ranging, embracing murals, stained-glass, and furniture design in addition to painting and printmaking. He excelled across this range of endeavours. As a lithographer, he was President of the Senefelder Club from 1918 to 1922, and again in the 1930s. In this composition, below the starburst of street lamps, Brangwyn has depicted people reading (and selling) broadsheet newspapers, reflecting the business of the street and providing a clever foreground compositional element. Brangwyn’s presents an architectural capriccio: the Egyptian obelisk on the left is not part of Fleet Street, and Holborn Viaduct (depicted in this view) actually exists five 5 minute’s walk away up Farringdon Street. However, Brangwyn’s chiaroscuro evocation of London at night is exquisite.