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John Brett, A.R.A. (1830-1902)
John Brett, A.R.A. (1830-1902)

Forest Creek, Newport Sandbanks, Pembrokeshire

John Brett, A.R.A. (1830-1902)
Forest Creek, Newport Sandbanks, Pembrokeshire
inscribed and dated 'Forest Creek 15 July 82' (upper left) and signed and inscribed 'Newport Sandbanks Pembrokeshire Coast/by John Brett/A.R.A.' (on the stretcher).
oil on canvas
7 x 14 in. (17.8 x 35.5 cm.)
with George Hughes, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 13 June 2000, lot 1, where purchased by the present owner.
C. Payne, John Brett, Pre-Raphaelite Landscape Painter, New Haven, 2010, p. 225, no. 960, illustrated.
Cardiff, National Museum of Wales, John Brett - a Pre-Raphaelite on the Shores of Wales, 2001, no. 20.

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Lot Essay

The present work is a smaller version of one commissioned by Dr J. Watt Black in 1882. The larger oil measures 15 x 29 in. and is currently in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.

Brett is particularly known for his Pre-Raphaelite works of the 1850s, including The Glacier of Rosenlaui, (1856, Tate Gallery, London), The Stonebreaker, (1857-8, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) and Val d'Aosta, (1858, private collection).

In 1863-64 Brett visited the Bay of Naples and began thereafter to paint sea pictures and coastal views; in subsequent years he frequently travelled along the coast of the British Isles during the summer months. He painted several pictures of Cardigan Bay including one that was exhibited in 1892 at the Royal Academy.

Brett frequently included rocks in the foreground of his coastal scenes which enabled him to display his skills at portraying their detailed surfaces. He was interested in geology and, as a scientist of some repute, was a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He used strict mathematical theory to determine the size of his canvases; the eye could take in a view on a horizontal azimuth of 60 degrees, and it was his opinion that 'all the paintable phenomena in nature occur within an angle of about fifteen degrees above or below the horizon'. This resulted in almost all of his paintings being exactly twice as long as they are high.

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