Monet in Mind – John Brown’s The Pier

Posted: 17th May 2021

Humber Museums Partnership - Monet in Mind – John Brown’s The Pier

John Alfred Arnesby BROWN
b.1866 – d.1955
The Pier 1905
Oil on Canvas
John Alfred Arnesby Brown was a leading landscape artist in the 20th Century, influenced by painters who promoted landscape painting for its own sake and were advocates of painting direct from nature.
Brown was also inspired by the work of French Impressionists to whom this particular work owes a considerable debt for its subtle focus on light and atmosphere.
This dark, dramatic painting captures the late-night view of a pier, with street lamps providing a glimpse of light through the evening fog.
Brown died in 1955, having not painted since 1942 due to blindness.

Samuel Courtauld, the founder of The Courtauld, wrote poetry about the artworks in his collection. Following in his footsteps many years later, young people aged 16-25 from The Warren Youth Project in Hull, were inspired by The Pier to compose their own creative writing.

Haiku based on The Pier 1905

The Pier holds light,
Small yet bright enough to lead,
Any and all home

By Andrew Gooch

Phone Conversation Overhead At The Pier

Yeah, yeah. It’s alright, I’ve lived here all my life. Not gonna trip over the wall and fall. It’s not that dark. They’ve got like, old street lamps, you know, the ones that don’t bend at the top? And have curly wrought iron bits? Fancy, yeah, alright. Pier’s got a little light too for the ships, so. I’m not gonna fall in. You’re not that distracting, you know. (laugh) I’m in public, you know. Someone taking their dog for a night walk might hear you. Shouting that down the phone. (pause) You should come up here, you know. We can go for a late night walk. (laugh) Yes, you’re the dog. You should see it, though. All the shimmering lights from the arcade, the bars by the dock, rippling on the pier water. It’s quite romantic. I think my mum proposed on this pier. She says it looks exactly the same. The salt from the water preserves it. (tuts) Alright, it’s probably not true, I was being poetic. Can’t I be poetic in the everyday? Just for a moment?

By Sarah Magaharan