Unloading the Catch 1916-1917
FRANK BRANGWYN [1867-1956 English]
Oil on canvas
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Given 1951 by the Sargood Trust
Painter, engraver, lithographer, poster illustrator, interior designer, as well as a maker of furniture, carpets, ceramics and glass, Sir Frank Brangwyn was a twentieth century version of a Renaissance artist. He was a highly regarded mural painter, and in 1905 was selected to design the British Rooms at the Venice Biennale. He filled the British pavilion with painted friezes and installed seating and fittings of his own design, creating an aesthetic installation which won a Gold Medal for the best room for the “Sala Inglese”.
The work currently on display was originally part of a large mural frieze commissioned in 1915 by English businessman George Harold Winterbottom for the billiard room at his residence, Horton House near Northampton. Designed to fit the room, the extensive frieze was about 122 feet long. The entire frieze was removed in sections and sold at auction after Winterbottom’s death in 1934. The Fine Art Society, London bought a number of mural sections, which were subsequently purchased by the Sargood Trust in 1951.
Six sections of the mural were brought out to Aotearoa New Zealand, the Sargood Trust presenting four to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery: Unloading the Catch, Venetian Serenaders, Quayside Porters, and Vineyard Workers Resting. The other two, Mediterranean Market and Card Players, were bought for £400 by the National Art Gallery, Wellington (now Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa), through its Picture Purchase Reserve Account.