Collection Online
Rough sea, Belle-Île
oil on canvas
63.2 × 63.1 cm
Place/s of Execution
Belle-Île, France
inscribed in black paint l.l.: John Russell / B.l. '00
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The Joseph Brown Collection. Presented through the NGV Foundation by Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2004
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Gallery 9
Level 2, NGV Australia
Subjects (general)
Abstract Art Marines and Seascapes Nature
Subjects (specific)
Belle-ële-en-Mer (island) Brittany (region (administrative division)) colours (hues or tints) France (nation) lines (artistic concept) seas


John Russell’s Rough sea, Belle-Ile, 1900, came into the collection in 2004.
The painting came in to the NGV in a c.1970's painted cassetta style frame (in lilac, silverleaf and gold leaf) with linen slip and gilded sight edge.
The decision to reframe the painting came in preparation for the exhibition, Australian Impressionists in France in 2013.
A prototype for reframing the painting appears on Russell's 'Mrs Russell parmi les fleurs au jardin de Goulphar, Belle-Ile‘, 1907 (Musee de Morlaix, France), a similar date to the NGV work by Russell. The use of the architrave moulding is reflective of both the homemade, make-shift approach to framing of this period, and the practical skills Russell had developed as a house-builder and boat-builder.
The prototype frame profile drawing was made directly during a visit to the Musee de Morlaix in France.
The moulding was machined in Melbourne from jelutong timber.
The white finish of the frame was based an original frame on Theo van Rysselberghe’s ‘Le the au jardin’ from the Musee d’Ixelles, Brussels.
The white surface appeared to be very matte and chalky with no noticeable surface texture, an almost egg-shell finish.
Several test boards were made up with different paint mediums (oil, gesso, acrylic) and tones of white. From these a finish using casein glue was chosen.
The frame was given a light coat of wax to protect the surface and fitted to the painting in 2013.
The painting was cleaned, strip lined and re-stretched in 2013.

Reproduction - crafted by the NGV

Painted timber (jelutong) and casein paint.