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ID number:  BIRRC-A0922
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  Robb, Brian (1913-1979)
Title / Object name:  Venetian Waterscape
Object type:  Painting
Date made:  1971
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  68 x 103.6 cm

Gift from the trustees of the R.A. Chantrey Bequest, May 2001. The view is of the Grand Canal in Venice showing a section of historic buildings that line the water's edge. A frequent visitor to Venice, Robb was fascinated by its diverse Gothic architecture. If you look closely, a small archway can be discerned allowing passage by boat through to the other side, a characteristic feature in Venetian buildings. However, because of the deliberate lack of clarity it is difficult to determine the exact location of the painting. The solid buildings and the watery reflections blend into one another, and a vibrant shade of turquoise pervades the whole.

Brian Robb was an accomplished painter and illustrator. Some of his earliest works were humorous drawings published in Punch in the 1930s. He also designed press advertisements and posters for Shell and London Transport. Robb lectured at Chelsea School of Art from 1936 to 1962, with a break for service in the Middle East during the Second World War Between 1963 and 1978, he was Head of Illustration at the Royal College of Art.

It is perhaps fitting that this view of a Venice canal has found it's way here since Birmingham also has a subtantial waterways system, and as 'Brummies' often proudly state, 'there are more canals in Birmingham than in Venice'.

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