Frank Brangwyn

Watercolor of a North African Building Site by Frank Brangwyn (LEO Design)

Sadly, this year's travel plans have been supplanted with overdue home projects, including the hanging and cataloging of my personal collection of paintings and other artwork.  So this summer, in lieu of an overseas getaway, I could only gaze wistfully at framed pictures as I hung them—many of them reminding me of my favorite travel destinations (and vacations gone by).  Let me share a few of them with you.  Alas, this shall be the extent of my romantic journeys for Summer 2020.  On the whole, I have little to complain of.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy a few more "little journeys,' gazing at my pictures of my favorite places.

One of my favorite artists, Frank Brangwyn, was born to Anglo-Welsh parents in Bruges, Belgium, where his father had been hired to design and build a local church.  While he had some formal art training, he was largely self-taught.  In his twenties, Brangwyn travelled through Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey where he painted landscapes and the local street life—for "Orientalism" was very popular in Europe at the time.  One of Brangwyn's favorite subjects was construction (or archaeological) sites and he seemed to really like scaffolding.  The watercolor above shows a worksite he encountered while on his travels. Having travelled inTurkey, Morocco and Egypt, I can attest that Brangwyn's depiction is very much still typical of scenes in these countries—constant building, repair and physical change.

The scope of Brangwyn's work is impressive.  In addition to painting, drawing and etching, he painted murals, including four in Rockefeller Center (alongside Diego Rivera and Jose Maria Sert).  He also designed stained glass windows, mosaics, furniture, ceramics, glassware and interior spaces.  

In his later years, as he became more devoutly religious, Brangwyn produced several Stations of the Cross cycles, the most famous of which was produced as a large scale print (with 18 sets produced).  One copy, printed on sycamore wood, now hangs in Campion Hall, the Jesuit College at Oxford University.  We are fortunate to have one of the preparatory "cartoons" drawn by Brangwyn, The Eighth Station, Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem (shown below).  After drawing this, he would have rubbed red conté crayon onto the back of the image, then re-traced the image onto the copper printing plate.  After that, he would use etching tools to further work the copper plate, creating the printed effect he desired.

Frank Brangwyn's Preparatory "Cartoon" for His Printed Stations of the Cross Cycle, the Eighth Station (LEO Design)


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248