John Brett

Britannia’s Realm

1880

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Artist
John Brett 1831–1902
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1054 × 2121 mm
frame: 1460 × 2530 × 140 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1880
Reference
N01617

Display caption

Brett sailed along the coast of Britain to make detailed notes on light, colour and weather. This view was painted near Tenby in Pembrokeshire. The title proclaims the idea that the world’s oceans are Britain’s colonial possessions, used to validate the expansion of its Empire during the height of British naval reach. However, it also reflects fear arising from discussions about breaching the Channel that divided Britain from mainland Europe with a tunnel (not realised until 1994)

Gallery label, March 2022

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