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History of the Brangwyn Hall Panels

The story of the Brangwyn Panels and the preparatory drawings coming to Swansea is one of triumph over disaster.

Guildhall History 4Sir Frank Brangwyn, R.A. (1867 - 1956) is celebrated as one of Britain's most prolific and versatile artists. His work is internationally acclaimed and the huge British Empire Panels in Swansea are amongst the most important examples of his decorative work on a large scale.

The Brangwyn Hall at the Guildhall, Swansea is renowned as a major concert hall and conference centre, and is enhanced by these unique magnificent panels.

Frank Brangwyn
Sir Frank Brangwyn R.A. (1867 - 1956)

1867 - Born Bruges, Belgium (Welsh father, English mother).  Father was a church architect and craftsman.
1885 - First painting shown at Royal Academy, London.
1887 - 1890's - Joined Royal Navy Volunteers; travelled extensively including Russia and South Africa over next few years.  Paintings regularly shown at Royal Academy and other venues including Paris and Glasgow.  Also produced book illustrations and frieze / mural work.
1898 - Works shown at Royal Academy, though Brangwyn didn't show there again until 1952 due to criticism.
1904 - Elected Associate of Royal Academy.
1918 - Moved to Sussex; designed pavilion for Brangwyn Museum, Tokyo, Japan (never built).
1924 - Death of wife at time of his great success with exhibitions world-wide, including London.
Guildhall History 31925 - Commission for Royal Gallery, House of Lords as memorial to First World War; scheme eventually rejected in 1932 and panels were given to Swansea's new Guildhall in 1934.
1952 - Huge Royal Academy exhibition of Brangwyn's work held against his wishes, but it was the first retrospective held there of work by a living artist; works lent by Swansea Corporation.
1956 - Death of Sir Frank Brangwyn, R.A., aged 89.

The Brangwyn Hall today
The Panels in the Brangwyn serve as a testament to the creative vision of the artist, but also to the Council for providing a purpose- built municipal environment where this artistic achievement could be enjoyed by the public on a daily basis.

Today the building is used as a variety of functions, regularly used by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Choirs from around the Country.

 

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