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Hercules Brabazon Brabazon was born Hercules Brabazon Sharpe in Paris in 1821. Brabazon started at Harrow in 1835 and then transferred to the Ecole Privat in Geneva in 1837 which was better suited to his quiet and reserved temperament. In 1840 Brabazon went up to Trinity College, Cambridge and graduated in mathematics. Although this might seem an unexpected subject for the musical and artistic Brabazon, his understanding of geometry and the rules of perspective enabled him to create the remarkable illusion of spacial depth within his pictures. Brabazon left England in 1844 and travelled to Rome where he enrolled at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, school of music, and the Accademia di San Luca, school of art. In 1847 Brabazon's eldest brother died, and he succeeded to the family estates in Connaught and, by the terms of his uncle's will, he changed his name to Hercules Brabazon Brabazon. Relieved of all financial pressures and free to pursue his artistic career, Brabazon embarked on a course of study and travel which he continued until the the last two years of his life.
Brabazon as an artist owes his greatest debt to Turner. Brabazon built on the experiments of Turner, using tinted paper to help create atmosphere and speed up the process of composition so that he could capture a transient moment in nature. Like Turner, he also excelled as a colourist, often using only three or four pigments to produce the harmony of colour characteristic of his work.
Brabazon had an enormous impact upon the younger generation of impressionist artists such as Steer, Monet and most significantly on the young American artist, John Singer Sargent, R.A. (1856-1925) who he met in 1885. Brabazon taught Sargent the methods of watercolour painting that he had perfected. Sargent in turn became a dedicated supporter of Brabazon, persuading him to hold his first exhibition at the Goupil Gallery. Sargent who organised the exhibition summed up the style and achievement of Brabazon's work in the catalogue introduction: 'The gift of colour, together with an exquisite sensitivity to impressions of Nature, has been here the constant incentive, and the immunity from 'picture'- making has gone far to keep perception delicate and execution convincing.' The overwhelming success of his first exhibiton led to Brabazon holding four more one-man shows at the Goupil gallery and also exhibiting in two joint exhibitions there. He embraced his new public image, although already a member of the New English Art Club, he became a founder member of the Pastel Society in 1899 and exhibited with the International Society of Sculptors. Painters and Gravers in 1906. In the same year following a serious illness, Brabazon died at the family estate of Oaklands, aged 84.