Hercules Brabazon Brabazon 
John Singer Sargent -- American painter 
National Museums and Galleries of Wales,
Oil on canvas
56.5 x 40.6 cm
Acquired 1963; Bequest; Margaret Davies
Accession Number NMW A 179 [1]
 Jpg: nmgw.ac.uk

Hercules Brabazon Brabazon

Hercules  Brabazon Brabazon (1821-1906) was an Irish/English watercolorist who came to it professionally at a late age -- though he had been a gentleman artist for many years previously. He held his first one-man exhibition at the Goupil Gallery in 1892 at the age of 71 quickly became a sensation with works such as "The Pink Palace".

Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, and D. S. MacColl, his friends from the New English Art Club, were all wildly supportive of this "new kid's" first solo exhibition. S
ir Frederick Wedmore described him as being: 'A country gentleman, who at seventy years old made his debut as a professional artist, and straightaway became famous.' 

Although thirty years older than Sargent, the two  shared a lot in common and they became good friends. Brabazon first exhibited at the New English Art Club in '91. He was raised in France, developed a love of music and traveled widely spending his summers in the Riviera and traveled through North Africa and the Middle East.

To put into perspective the affection Sargent had for this man and the painting -- this was in Sargent's personal collection when he died in 1925 - twenty-five years after it was painted.[1] 

Brabazon's watercolors, such as "Fondamenta della Salute" and "Venice (3)" showed the deftness of what Whistler had done and in many ways the same sort of things Sargent himself was doing. Sargent admired him greatly and at the time of his own death held works by Brabazon in his own collection. 

Born Hercules Brabazon Sharpe, the youngest of two sons from an Irish aristocratic family which held estates in both Ireland and Britain he was able to enjoy a life of the intellect, arts and leisure. Upon the early death of his older brother  ('47) and then his father in '58 when he was thirty-seven years old, he inherited the title and fortune of the family and became Hercules Brabazon Brabazon. 

Early on, after his father brought the family back to England, he studied watercolors at Harrow and then mathematics at Trinity College.

When Sargent paints him, Hecules would have been 79 years old. 


Bio notes 

Margaret Davies purchased this painting from the Sargent's studio sale after his death in 1925, then she
bequest it to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales,1963


Sample of Work

Houses at Tivoli 
circa 1860

The Grand Canal

Venice (3)

circa 1887

Les Rochers Rouges

Fondamenta della Salute, Venice 


Covent Garden

The Grand Canal, Venice
circa 1890

A Mediterranean

The Pink Palace
exhibited 1892

After sunset: view from the artist's window in Morpeth Terrace
late 19th century (1890's?)

Souvenir of de Hoogh


Sunset: Mountain and Lake

Created 1/30/2004

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