John Brett, ARA (British, 1831-1902) Arran from Farland Point
Lot 84
John Brett, ARA (British, 1831-1902) Arran from Farland Point
Sold for £18,000 (US$ 30,254) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
(n/a) John Brett, ARA (British, 1831-1902)
Arran from Farland Point
incised and dated 'John Brett 1886' (lower left); indistinctly inscribed on the reverse
oil on canvas
38 x 76.5cm (15 x 30 1/8in).


  • The Isle of Arran is the most southerly Scottish island which sits in the Firth of Clyde between Ayrshire and Kintyre. From the 1860 onwards Brett turned increasingly to the sea for inspiration and began experimenting with pure marine or coastal scenes from his many summer explorations of the British coast around Devon, Cornwall, the Channel Islands, Scotland and North Wales in particular.

    Drawing on his association with Pre-Raphaelite founders John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt in the 1850s and on the representation of mountain scenery in John Ruskin's Modern Painters, published in 1856, Brett developed an intense and vibrant style that brought him to the zenith of his career as a professional artist by the 1880s.

    The present lot is a good example of Brett's mathematical approach to painting. His canvases were made up of two equal squares side by side. He believed that the 'eye can include easily an azimuth of sixty degrees, but all paintable phenomena in nature occur within an angle of about fifteen degrees above or below the horizon. All the clouds above the altitude are diffuse'. He therefore includes the sky above and the foreground below the thirty degree range.1

    1. Brett, Three Months on the Scottish Coast, 1886 p.10.

Saleroom notices

  • This painting was described by John Brett in his studio log as "The best of the pictures done at Portencross". The title should read 'Arran from Farland Head, 1886' rather than as stated in the catalogue. Provenance: Sold to Mr & Mrs David Evans of Ffrwdgrech, Brecon, February 1887, for £150. Sotheby's, Belgravia, 24 October 1978, lot 61. Sold for £2,200. Private Collection. On loan to the Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead. The picture will be sold with the original Sotheby Park Bernet reciept issued to the present owner on 24 October 1978. Exhibited: Fine Art Society, December 1886, picture 'C'. We would like to thank Charles Brett and the present owner for providing the above information.
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