Artists and writers have been long inspired by the sea at Brighton & Hove since it was a tiny 16th-century fishing village. To explore this allure, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery has opened See The Sea. This is a family-friendly display of paintings from its fine art collection.
Running until Spring 2024, See The Sea includes dramatic seascapes, beach-side scenes and pictures of the magnificent seafront and its bustling crowds.
From paintings of quiet shores and seafront working scenes to Regency splendour and parade. You can sail through romantic sea and skies to views of today’s vibrant seafront. Paintings include works by Spencer Gore and Ruskin Spear. Local artist Richard Henry Nibbs is also featured, who has recently had a blue plaque unveiled in his memory at Buckingham Place, Brighton. There’s also nautical scenes from Wilfred Avery, John Wilson Carmichael and French portrait painter Jacques-Emile Blanche. Hove artist Charles Burleigh also captures the buzz of tourists promenading on the seafront in high summer a century ago.
The exhibition is designed to celebrate the call of the beach and the sea through history. Thought-provoking questions accompany each painting. These encourage visitors to reflect on the paintings, life in Brighton in the past and how we view and enjoy the sea now. The simple and friendly interpretation means the exhibition will be accessible to families with children of all ages . Plus, visitors who may usually feel intimidated in an art gallery.
It runs in parallel with World Above the Waves, an exhibition celebrating Brighton’s Chain Pier which opened a century ago.
For 73 years the Royal Suspension Chain Pier, an innovative feat of engineering, inspired artists, attracted tourists. It also hosted entertainments and was a landing stage for cargo and passengers. Fashionable society, shop keepers and Royal visitors are all remembered in this display of paintings, prints and ephemera from the museum’s collection.
“We’re looking forward to displaying some of the most beautiful paintings in our Fine Art collection” said Brighton & Hove Museums CEO, Hedley Swain. “The seaside is an integral part of our city whether you are a resident or a visitor.
“Artists have been inspired by our seascape through history, extremes of weather and at different times of the year. Our exhibition is surprising with how varied the seafront can look or be interpreted by different artists.
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, part of Brighton & Hove Museums, is one of Britain’s oldest public museums. Located in the Royal Pavilion Estate at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter, the collections showcase arts and crafts from across the world. Plus, history from Ancient Egypt to modern Brighton.