Provenance: John Heaton, Sunderland; Vose Galleries of Boston, USA; San Joaquin Pioneer Museum and Haggin Art Galleries, Stockton,California (de-acquisitioned 2006)
Exhibited: Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, November 1914 (no.68),l ent by John Heaton; Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Etchings by Frank Brangwyn, Royal Academy, London,1924 (no.297); Vose Galleries of Boston,USA,1925 (no.6)
Literature: Herbert Furst, The Decorative Art of Frank Brangwyn, London 1924, pp.84-5; Art News, New York, 14 March 1925; Boston Herald, 15 March 1925
Reference: Vincent Galloway, The Oils and Murals of Sir Frank Brangwyn, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex 1962, p.303
In 1911 Brangwyn was approached by Charles F. Schweinfurth,the architect of Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Cleveland,Ohio, to paint a mural for a lunette in the building,measuring 15ft by 50ft. The chosen theme was the democratic and very English subject of King John signing the Magna Carta on Runnymede Meadows in 1215. Brangwyn signed a contract with the Cuyahoga County Building Commission for the sum of $20,000,i n which he agreed to ‘visit the site and location’ before embarking on the commission, and ‘before and after it has been set in place [to] personally visit the site,and touch up or finish this painting in place’. In fact Brangwyn never visited the United States. He obviously hoped to bypass the process by producing such an unusually detailed cartoon.
We are grateful to Dr Libby Horner for her assistance (Brangwyn’s mural for Cuyahoga County Courthouse is no.M1142 in her forthcoming catalogue raisonne).