“Among the Tors”
An atmospheric watercolour painting by Charles Brittan (1870-1949) entitled “Among the Tors”. It depicts a small group of cattle on the Dartmoor heathland amongst the hills. The colours of the heathers are bright and vibrant. The area is near Princetown (stated on gallery label on the reverse).
Some other examples of works by this artist are included at the end of the photos.
Frame: Glazed and set in a cream mount within a wooden frame.
Provenance: Mendoza Gallery, London (label verso).
Condition: Painting and frame are both in good condition.
Measurements: Painting measures 53cm x 35cm and the overall frame 79cm x 61cm.
Biography: Charles Edward Brittan Junior (1870-1949) was taught his skills at an early age by his Father, Charles E. Brittan, who was an artist particularly noted for his pictures of animals. Charles junior was known to also have specialised in animal pictures. As the years progress he moved on to portray the various landscapes of Dartmoor painting in both oils and watercolours although it was his watercolours that he is best known for. Charles Brittan also painted in other landscapes such as Cornwall, Exmoor and Scotland, some of his Scottish works were even purchased by Queen Mary. In later years he was commissioned to illustrate various books which included the Reverend Hugh Breton’s guidebooks – Beautiful Dartmoor and Sabine Baring Gould’s book on Sheepstor.
Over his career, Charles Brittan developed a particular style of portraying the Dartmoor landscape. Initially his foregrounds always included a trackway of some description but then changed to show rocks and boulders all of which sport some kind of moss or lichen. It is seldom that human figures are ever shown but in various studies cattle, sheep and ponies are depicted.
Throughout his career Brittan held several major exhibitions, in 1913 he displayed his works under the title of Arran and the Western Isles in the Bond Street gallery of Arthur Ackerman and Son. In May 1914 he again exhibited in Ackerman’s gallery this time displaying his Dartmoor and Exmoor works as well. It was here, as the Times newspaper reported, that the Queen and Princess Mary viewed his works. The Royals must have had a liking for Brittan’s work because they revisited the gallery in 1921 and 1923. In 1933 the Graves Gallery in Sloane Square was exhibiting a work of Brittan’s which depicted the Hecklake on Dartmoor and this particular picture was rated in the top ten of 104 painting in the exhibition. Some of his works were reproduced in postcard format.
Charles E. Brittan died on Sunday the 18th of December 1949.