See the Sea at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery opens Saturday 22 July

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Artists and writers have been inspired by the sea at Brighton & Hove since it was a tiny 16th-century fishing village.  This family-friendly display of paintings from our fine art collection includes dramatic seascapes, beachside scenes and pictures of the magnificent seafront and its bustling crowds.

From quiet shores and seafront working scenes to Regency splendour and parade, sail through romantic sea and skies to views of today’s vibrant seafront.

Paintings include works by Spencer Gore, Ruskin Spear and local artist Richard Henry Nibbs who has recently had a blue plaque unveiled in his memory at Buckingham Place, Brighton.  Others showing nautical scenes include Wilfred Avery, John Wilson Carmichael and French portrait painter Jacques-Emile Blanche.  Hove artist Charles Burleigh captures the buzz of tourists promenading on the seafront in high summer a century ago.

The exhibition is designed to celebrate the call of the beach and the sea through history with thought-provoking questions accompanying each painting to encourage visitors to reflect on the paintings, life in Brighton in the past and how we view and enjoy the sea now. The simple and friendly interpretation means the exhibition will be accessible to families with children of all ages and visitors who may usually feel intimidated in an art gallery. This will be a perfect afternoon out for families visiting the city during their summer holidays.

Also don’t miss World Above the Waves: Brighton’s Chain Pier exhibition celebrating this feat of engineering which opened 100 years ago in November 1823.

For 73 years the Royal Suspension Chain Pier, an innovative feat of engineering, inspired artists, attracted tourists, hosted entertainments and was a landing stage for cargo and passengers. Fashionable society, shop keepers and Royal visitors are all remembered in this display of paintings, prints and ephemera from our Fine Art collection.

This exhibition in the Prints & Drawings Gallery complements See the Sea with its exploration of the history of Brighton as a seaside resort attracting tourists from around the world.

CEO of Brighton & Hove Museums Hedley Swain said: “We’re looking forward to displaying some of the most beautiful paintings in our Fine Art collection.  The seaside is an integral part of our city whether you are a resident or a visitor.

“Artists have been inspired by our seascape through history, extremes of weather and at different times of the year and our exhibition is surprising with how varied the seafront can look or be interpreted by different artists.

“This is a family-friendly exhibition – perfect for anyone on holiday and residents to visit when you need a change from the beach.”

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