19th Century European Paintings Gallery Level 2, NGV International
Collection of John H. Connell (1860–1952), and his wife Emily (1864–1913), Melbourne, until her death, 1913; gift of John H. Connell, to the NGV, 1914.
Exhibited Sir Frank Brangwyn RA, 30th Anniversary Exhibition, Mildura, 1986, no. 17.
Frank Brangwyn was a prolific artist, with a craftsmanlike attitude to his work. He regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy, London from 1885 onwards. He excelled in colour and the complex organization of figures in his vast mural compositions. During the 1890s Brangwyn travelled often in Spain, North Africa and the Middle East. Here, three exotically dressed women are taking tea on a roof garden overlooking Damascus. This painting belongs to the genre of small Eastern subjects executed by Brangwyn during the 1890s. These early pictures were usually painted in a low key, influenced by Whistler, but here Brangwyn has expanded his palette to include strong greens and bright oranage.
The frame takes the form of a Louis XV revival frame, the swept leading edge and strong centre and corner ornament are definitive features. The frame is built by applying composition mouldings to a basic ogee timber profile.