European & British Paintings Day Auction

European & British Paintings Day Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 5. Distant Capri.

Property of a Distinguished Collector

John Brett, A.R.A.

Distant Capri

Auction Closed

July 4, 02:11 PM GMT


8,000 - 12,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property of a Distinguished Collector

John Brett, A.R.A.


1831 - 1902

Distant Capri

signed and dated John Brett 1897 incised lower left

oil on canvas

Unframed: 38 by 76.5cm., 15 by 30in.

Framed: 51 by 89.5cm., 20 by 35¼in.

A H Harman, 2 June 1897 for 100 guineas

Nathan Mitchell, London

Sale: Sotheby's, London, 12 March 1997, lot 21 (as Loch Fyne)

Sale: Sworders, London, 4 April 2023, lot 277

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

‘Magazine of Art’, 1897, p. 155, illustrated

Christiana Payne and Charles Brett, John Brett - Pre-Raphaelite Landscape Painter, 2010, 1473, p. 240

London, Royal Academy, 1897, no. 740

In his last years, when he travelled rarely, John Brett frequently returned to subjects he had painted many years earlier, using material from his 72 sketchbooks (now in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich) to provide inspiration. In the present instance, the source was a drawing dated Sep 20 63 in sketchbook 13, which contains sketches made that year in the Bay of Naples. This drawing, clearly done from a boat, depicts the coast from a point a few miles south of the town of Massa Lubrense, looking south-west towards Campanella Point, with the Isle of Capri in the far distance. The prominent architectural feature in the left foreground is probably the Torre San Lorenzo. This drawing formed the starting point for an important finished watercolour dated 1864-6, to which Brett gave the title Casa di Castella (currently unlocated). Thirty years later he revisited the same source in order to create the present oil picture. It follows the design of the earlier watercolour fairly closely, but the vista towards Capri is of far greater extent, and the work is generally much richer in detail. In the entry for January 17 1897 in his Studio Log (Tate Archive) Brett wrote 'On New Year's Day I began a little picture 30 x 15 inches, Distant Capri', and he later recorded its sale at the Royal Academy that summer.

We are grateful to Charles Brett for his assistance with this catalogue note.