Just before the outbreak of First World War, Frank Brangwyn, one of the leading up and coming artists of the day, came to Horsham; Christ’s Hospital, to be precise, and started work on a masterpiece. Following on from the mediaeval tradition, he was commissioned to paint murals to adorn the newly built school chapel walls. Brangwyn in Horsham, the stunning new temporary exhibition at Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, marks his arrival in the town by showcasing three of the cartoons he created for the Chapel and puts them into context with other work by this renowned artist.
The exhibition at Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is part of the District’s Year of Culture. It will show for the first time, outside the School, three stunning drawings of the designs for the Chapel walls. It was from these drawings (or cartoons as they are known), and others held by the School, that Brangwyn transferred the images on to the walls to create highly colourful masterpieces. The exhibition, using drawings lent by Christ’s Hospital Museum, will also give other examples of his mural work, including drawings produced for the Rockefeller Centre in New York some 20 years later in 1933-4.
Horsham Museum & Art Gallery will also display two recently acquired cartoon drawings for designs commissioned by the House of Lords in 1924. British Empire Panels were designed to mark the end of World War One and were considered a prestigious commission to adorn The House of Lords. Frank Brangwyn had, by then, been elected a Royal Academician in 1919 and held the post of an Official War Artist. Horsham Museum has two of the preparatory drawings, which are full of vigour and drama. Unfortunately, the House of Lords decided the murals were not right for them, but Swansea, who were then building a new Guildhall, took the murals, where they are today seen as one of the art treasures of Wales.
Along with various designs for murals, Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is delighted to also be able to display a selection of ceramics designed by Sir Frank Brangwyn, lent by family descendent David Brangwyn. These will complement paintings and etchings produced by the prolific artist to create an interesting, colourful and unusual exhibition on one of the giants of 20th century art in Britain.
Brangwyn in Horsham is an ideal introduction in to the work of Sir Frank Brangwyn RA, an artist who created an outstanding work of art in Horsham and one that is rightly being celebrated in the Year of Culture. The exhibition also gives a taste of what can be seen in the major exhibition on Brangwyn at Christ’s Hospital Museum, from 23 April, where seven of the magnificent cartoons will be on display as well as the murals themselves in the Chapel.
Brangwyn in Horsham, featuring Christ’s Hospital cartoons, opens on 9 February and runs till 23 March 2019 at Horsham Museum & Art Gallery. The exhibition would not have been possible without the support and help of the Christ’s Hospital Museum, and Toovey’s Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers who have sponsored this stunning exhibition. Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is open Monday-Saturday 10am – 5pm. Admission Free. For more information, please visit: www.horshammuseum.org
Images: Sketch St Pauls and The Martydom – with permission and copyright of Christ’s Hospital; 2018.166 and mural with permission to use for publicity purposes and copyright to David Brangwyn