Monday, May 17, 2010

John Brett - Saints Bay, Guernsey

signed and dated l.l.: John Brett 1875; inscribed and signed on an old label attached to the stretcher: "Saints Bay, Guernsey"/ John Brett. R.A./ 30 Harley Street/ London

oil on canvas
15 by 30 in
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 18,750 GBP
This view of Saints Bay on Guernsey was made following Brett's first visit to the Channel Islands in 1874. He and his wife Mary had travelled by public steamer from Weymouth to St Peter Port. Saints Bay is on the island's south coast close to its eastern tip, in the parish of St Martin. The rock headlands that meet the sea along this shoreline seem to have been of particular interest to the artist, who remained fascinated by the conjunction of geology and the mechanisms of physical geography.

It seems likely that the subject was worked up from a smaller sketch, now unlocated but last recorded in the collection of W. G. Constable. It was presumably painted, on Brett's most favoured double square format, the following winter or early in 1875, and therefore allowing it to be sent to that year's exhibition of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

Brett was not to return to Guernsey until 1884, on that occasion taking passage in his own yacht.

Sotheby's is grateful to Charles Brett for kind assistance in the preparation of this catalogue entry.

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