The Tow-Rope

The Tow-Rope by Sir Frank Brangwyn RA RWS PRBA HRSA, 1867-1956. Lithograph. Source: Sparrow, Frank Brangwyn and His Work, facing 192.

Commentary by Walter Shaw Sparrow

If an etcher desires to rival Legros' "The Barge — Evening," or Brangwyn's "The Tow-Rope, Bruges, 1906," his whole nature must be a perfect gentleman in the ranks — the ranks of life's warfare. These etchings belong to similar moods, and their subjects are akin. . . . In Brangwyn's etching the barge is unseen, and no fewer than five drayhorse men — they are drawn in a scale somewhat too big for the plate — are haltered to the rope, and make themselves known as wastrels. Each, after a slack manner of his own, chews the bitter cud of his stale fatigue while his brain — his birthright through perhaps a million years — is half asleep among surly oaths, or half awake in a poor stock yearning after faro beer. [67]

Formatting and text by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit Internet Archive and the Ontario College of Art and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Sparrow, Walter Shaw. Frank Brangwyn and His Work. New York: Dana Estes, 1911. Internet Archive version of a copy in the Ontario College of Art. Web. 28 December 2012.

Last modified 28 December 2012