Breaking Up of the 'Duncan'. 1911. Etching. Gaunt 193. 32 3/8 x 21 3/8 (sheet 27 3/8 x 36 2/8). Edition 125. Glue stains along the sheet edges, well outside the image. A rich, tonal proof printed on white wove Japan paper. Signed in pencil. $2,500. For a similarly-themed image, see Hadens Breaking Up of the Agamemnon.
Charles Holmes writes, in Modern Etchings, Mezzotints and Dry-Points, "Breaking-up of the " Duncan " is a subject after Mr. Brangwyn's own heart. How weirdly tragic the effect of those mighty cranes, engines, as it were, of a destroying fate, reaching over the pathetic old hulk to aid and urge the ghouls of labour in their work of demolition! And of what infinite value they are to the design."
Sparrow, Walter Shaw. Prints & Drawings By Frank Brangwyn: With Some Other Phases of His Art. London: Forgotten Books, 1919; pp. 124-5.
"Here is another battleship, but of later date; she was commissioned for the first time on All Fools' Day of 1871, becoming flagship at Sheerness.
She was demolished in Castles' Yard at Woolwich, and Brangwyn represents her in flying perspective with her stern towards us, and great portholes like sorrowful eyes giving an uncanny pathos to this derelict of our sea power.
The upper part of her body has gone, and upright portions of the skeleton cut out against a London sky. Huge cranes extend towards and above her, and there is distance enough to keep the "Duncan from being tyrannously big in relation to the print's whole surface. Though all is ample and abundant, the plate has mystery with infinity. A feeling for grandeur is present everywhere, except in those poor midgets who toil around and upon the ship, undoing what other poor midgets put together, in our Brobdingnag of machines."
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