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All Hands Shorten Sail

Frank William Brangwyn
1889

The painting was donated by Robert Taylor Heape in 1911, who gave over a hundred paintings to Rochdale’s collection in its formative years. 

The scale of the work is significant and the perspective gives a sense of really being on board a ship being rocked by waves.

Brangwyn was an important British artist during the Victorian era.

Brangwyn was born in Bruges and received no formal art training. In the early 1880s he was employed in the workshop of William Morris, training as a draughtsman. This coupled with a lust for travel and adventure meant that he frequently took off on sea journeys, paying for his passage with paintings.

Brangwyn’s most celebrated engravings, drawings and oil paintings of maritime labour and industry are compositions of impressive scale, depicting teams of workmen on rough seas. He exhibited at the Royal Academy during the 1890s and the Paris Salon, 1891.