The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Biography

Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, 1821-1906

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1821.11.27
Place of Birth: Paris
Date of Death: 1906.05.14
Place of Death: Oakland Battle


Hercules Brabazon Brabazon was an English watercolourist. He was baptized Hercules Brabazon Sharpe, and was the son of landed gentry. He inherited the family estates in 1847 and 1858, which brought about a legal change in his surname.


Brabazon lived in Sussex but travelled annually to the Continent, especially to the Alps and the Mediterranean. He also visited Africa, India and the Middle East in the 1860s and 1870s, producing many landscapes on his travels, e.g. Street in Cairo (London, V&A). He studied briefly with James D'Egville and Alfred Downing Fripp but was largely self-taught, copying from the Old Masters, particularly Velazquez. His style is closely related to that of such early nineteenth century landscape painters such as David Cox, Peter de Wint, William James Muller and J. M. W. Turner. His fluid technique also showed the influence of JW. In 1886 he appears to have been in correspondence with JW. He bought a lithograph by JW from the Fine Art Society in 1895.

JW considered him to be a mere amateur and for that reason he was not invited to join the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers.

In 1891 Brabazon exhibited with the New English Art Club of which he was a member. He was also a member of the Burlington Fine Arts Club, The Arts Club and the Pastel Society. The younger artists John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer and D. S. MacColl greatly admired his work and championed his one-man exhibition at the Goupil Gallery in 1892. He held several more one-man shows there. McLure Hamilton described him as 'that clever artist who knew how to breathe on to paper in puffs of coloured smoke the most charming skies and lakes, and mountains and Venetian palaces'. The contents of his studio were auctioned in London at Christie's in March 1926 and March 1927 and at Sotheby's in June 1928.


MacColl, D. S., 'Art: Mr Brabazon's Water-colours', The Spectator, vol. 69, 1892, pp. 851-52; Wedmore, F., Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, Battle, 1906; Hind, C. L., Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, 1821-1906: His Art and Life, London, 1912; Hamilton, John McLure, Men I Have Painted, London, 1921; Weil, A., An Exhibition of Watercolours and Drawings by Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, 1821-1906 exhibition art gallery, Leighton House Art Gallery and Museum, London, 1971; Weil, A. (ed.), Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, 1821-1906, exhibition catalogue, Fine Art Society, London, 1974; Faberman, Hilarie, 'Hercules Brabazon Brabazon', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 24 May 2002).