Arthur Briscoe RSMA RI RE (1873-1943)
Make Fast, 1929
A very atmospheric etching depicting two men struggling to take up the mainsail leechline, with a very big sea running and the deck swamped with water
etching, signed in ink
Numbered limited edition of 75
Overall size including frame: 57.7 x 44.7 cm
Arthur Briscoe was born in Birkenhead on 25th February 1873, the son of a prominent Liverpool business man. He was educated at Shewsbury School and studied art at the Slade School and at Academie Julian in Paris. Around the turn of the century Briscoe was introduced to dinghy sailing and soon progressed to a 3 ton cutter named Doris, and then an 8 ton cutter named Vera which he bought in 1902, a year after his marriage to Mabel who was also a keen sailor. The young couple, together with their son Bill and terrier Jock, now spent eight or nine months a year on the yacht, sailing to Cornwall, France and the Dutch waterways. When on land they lived at Maldon in Essex.
Arthur painted in oils when at home during the winter months, but held a one-man exhibition in 1906 of thirty five watercolours which proved a resounding success and established his reputation. Other exhibitions followed and in 1908 he further progressed to a 21 ton yacht Golden Vanity, the yacht with which he is generally associated, and in which he and his wife became well-known in the southern stretches of the North Sea on their way to or from the Dutch canals which they loved so much.
In 1922 Briscoe joined the company of a Polish square-rigger ship Lwow making the voyage to Genoa, an experience that he had wanted for years and which enabled him to observe the all the details and aspects of life in such a ship. Further such journeys followed in the years ahead. In 1923 he also produced his first etching - a medium with which he is perhaps better known for nowadays than any other. His new etchings were eagerly awaited in the 1920s and 1930s and he would often make trips to Falmouth and Brixham to observe and tour large ships in port.
He died in 1943, not long after suffering a stroke.