Arthur Melville

The Sapphire Sea

About this artwork

This spectacular watercolour depicts the port of Pasajes on the Atlantic coast of Spain, near San Sebastián. Melville first visited Spain in the spring of 1890; the experience inspired an enduring fascination with the light and landscape of Spain. This work was painted on a tour of northern Spain in early 1892 with fellow artist Frank Brangwyn. Brangwyn wrote that Pasajes was ‘a tiny Venice in which time had stood still for two centuries…’. Melville evolved his own technique of watercolour painting, applying a ground of diluted Chinese white to prepare the paper before applying colour. This is probably what gives his colours such depth and richness allowing him to capture the jewel like colours of the Middle East.

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Arthur Melville

Arthur Melville

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