Posted on: 4 September 2013

British Empire Panel (10) India
By Frank Brangwyn

Date painted: c.1930
Oil on canvas, 609 x 396 cm
Collection: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

In 1926 Lord Iveagh commissioned Brangwyn to produce a series of large murals to cover the north and south walls of the royal gallery in the House of Lords. His biographer, Alan Windsor, has pointed out: "Brangwyn first designed a series of compositions based on scenes of battle, to harmonize in subject matter and colour with the existing long murals by Daniel Maclise, which are on the east and west walls. After Brangwyn had worked for two years, however, Lord Iveagh could not accept the grim realities depicted and asked Brangwyn to start afresh on a quite different scheme. The new series, in radiant colours, was to evoke instead the beauty of the dominions and colonies which had fought for the British. These, the British Empire Panels, are a celebration of the people, the flora, and the fauna of those lands in a profusion of mainly tropical vegetation. They are flamboyant, flat, and decorative in their effect. In 1930 five of the sixteen large panels were set up in the royal gallery for inspection by the Royal Fine Arts Commission. Their report was adverse. Despite vigorous public support from Royal Academicians, including Sickert, the Lords voted against the scheme. Brangwyn was devastated by this blow." These murals can now be seen at Brangwyn Hall in Swansea.

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