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John BRETT 1830 - 1902

ARA

Biography

Born in Maidstone in Kent, John Brett was best known as a Londonpainter. He had a success at the Royal Academy in 1858 with “TheStonebreaker” one of the great Pre-Raphaelite social comment pictures,which was highly praised by John Ruskin and is now held in LiverpoolMuseum & Galleries. In the next year he produced the remarkablePre-Raphaelite landscape “Val d’ Aosta,” yet again the subject of muchcomment from Ruskin. Following this he started to produce the highlygeologically accurate and vivid coastal scenes, which occupied him forthe rest of his life.

Brett lived in Putney with his wife Mary and their three sons and fourdaughters. Although the identity of the boys in the portraits is notknown, they may well be his own children. Brett paintings were createdduring the height of the Victorian era, but his children are notpresented as repressed little Victorians, rather all his childrenlooked lively, spirited, and perhaps a little cheeky?