The Forge, Branscombe
John White, RI ROI RBA (1851 – 1933)
11” x 18” (27.9 cm x 45.7 cm)
Born in Edinburgh, John White spent most of his childhood in Australia after his family emigrated there in 1856. He was educated in Melbourne, but returned to Britain and studied art and design at The Royal Scottish Academy Schools from 1871. White lived at Shere in Surrey and in London before moving to Devon, where he lived at Axminster, Exeter, Branscombe and Beer. John White painted in both oils and watercolours and often featured his wife and children as models in his pictures. He specialised in rustic genre subjects, coastal views, landscapes and village scenes, particularly in East Devon, North Devon, Dorset and Dartmoor. He exhibited 40 times at The Royal Academy and was a member of, and a regular exhibitor at, The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters and The Royal Society of British Artists.
Branscombe Forge was built around 1850 and generations of blacksmiths have shaped red-hot metal into horseshoes, ploughs, fishing hooks, metal tyres and tools. Today, blacksmiths still work there, using the same traditional methods to produce both practical and artistic items, and the forge is believed to be the oldest thatched working forge in Devon.