Although Brangwyn was born in Bruges, Belgium, his family moved to England in 1874. Brangwyn received some artistic training but did not gain much confidence until one of his pieces was accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Brangwyn had a limited palette and painted mainly of life on the seas. By the 19th Century however, Brangwyn began to indulge in Orientalism and soon became attracted to brighter colours. He travelled to Istanbul and made many drawings of Spain, Morocco and Egypt and later travelled throughout Africa and South Africa.
In 1895 Brangwyn was commissioned by Siegfried Bing to decorate the exterior of his Galerie L’Art Nouveau in Paris. The opportunity to explore new techniques, such as murals, tapestry, posters and stained glass, encouraged Brangwyn to receive considerable acclaim. After the success of the Galerie L’Art Nouveau, Brangwyn received many more commissions, notably St Aidan’s Church, Leeds in 1916 where he produced a large glass mosaic for the apse. Despite later producing over 80 posters for the First World War, Brangwyn was never considered a war artist but was referred to as an artistic “jack-of-all-trades”. He was known for his generosity, and towards the end of his life donated many artworks from his own collection to museum and galleries throughout Europe.