Beside the Seaside

Brighton Belle (I'm no Angel)

Bill Brandt

Brighton Belle (I'm no Angel)

Vintage Gelatin Silver Print

23.5 x 19.7 cms (9.24 x 7.74 ins)

1935

HC 10941

Provenance

The Estate of Bill Brandt
Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

Exhibited

Bill Brandt. Known and Unknown, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, 2001 (This print)

Literature

Bill Brandt, The English at Home, 1936 (illustrated full page p.62)
Mark Haworth-Booth (intro.) and David Mellor (essay), Bill Brandt. Behind the Camera. Photographs 1928-1983, Aperture/Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1985 (illustrated p.12)
Bill Jay and Nigel Warburton, Brandt: The Photography of Bill Brandt, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1999 (illustrated and discussed p.289)
Paul Delaney, Bill Brandt: A Life, 2004 (illustrated full page p.108)

Photographer's stamp verso.

Only known vintage print of this seminal image from Brandt's important first book, The English at Home (1936).

The subject anticipates by decades the similar type of imagery to be found in the seaside scenes of Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. The inclusion of a Union Jack flag and a hat with the words "I'm no Angel" make it a wonderful celebration of British sea-side holidays.

It is, however, typical of much of Brandt's documentary work in being a fiction. Supposedly informal, spontaneous and candid, it is in fact staged and employs props such as the flag and hat.

Despite the girlishness of the foreground subject, the person is in fact Esther, the wife of Brandt's brother. And far from being a celebration of the British, she was Danish and a recent arrival to the country. She appears, as does her husband, in several of Brandt's apparently authentic photographs of English life during this period.

Copyright The Bill Brandt Archive, London / Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York / Zürich. 2018

British Photography / The Hyman Collection

Bill Brandt

Brighton Belle (I'm no Angel)

Vintage Gelatin Silver Print

23.5 x 19.7 cms (9.24 x 7.74 ins)

1935

HC 10941

All images © the artist or copyright holder | Website © The Hyman Collection 2019