Cliff Fall Painting

By Carol Walton

Does anyone know anything about this painting?  The name at the bottom seems to be S A Gravett?

Carol, it looks like one of the paintings which used to be displayed above the seats in the railway carriages just after the war. I have a large collection however I cannot find the name Gravett among them. It is also similar to the "local" paintings of Ravilous who painted many such scene around Sussex.


Photo:Cliff Fall, West Beach

Cliff Fall, West Beach

Photo:Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

Sidney Gravett painting, photo from Vicky Janssens

This page was added by Carol Walton on 28/06/2012.
Comments about this page

I also have a painting signed by the same man S.A. Gravett. Does any one know who he is? Many thanks, Ross.

By the way it's a country scene.

By Ross Dyton
On 30/03/2013

Hi Ross I am not sure as it is quite a few years ago, but my Mum had a friend who lived in Newhaven and her father was a local artists and the name rings a bell. I was born in Newhaven and went to Tideway, worked in Hove as a hairdresser and now live in Yorkshire.

By Margaret Hibling
On 06/04/2013

This painting is indeed by Sidney Gravett. When I was a child he was our next door neighbour in Fort Road. My parents asked him to paint three scenes of Newhaven, one of the North Quay from the swing bridge, one of St Lukes Lane looking towards the High Street and one of Sussex Lodge. I still have all of these pictures, together with another he painted at Southease.

By Tony Bannister
On 27/07/2013

Hi Margaret - the above picture belonged to my mother, and her mother was a Hibling. It looks like there may be some connection.

By Carol Walton
On 28/07/2013

As a footnote, Sidney Gravett was one of two celebrated water colour artists who were active in the Newhaven area in the post war period. The other, and probably better known, was George Sims, who lived on Mount Pleasant, I believe. However, I always preferred Gravett's freer style. He told me once he liked to paint on the back of wallpaper because he liked the texture! He usually painted on location, as I recall, and was often seen riding off on his bicycle to paint, with his easel, brushes and paints strapped on the back. It would be interesting, but probably very difficult, to gather together some of the surviving works by Sims and Gravett and have an exhibition. Historically just as valuable as photographs, and in some ways rather nicer......

By Tony Bannister
On 29/07/2013

Sidney Gravett was the father of Daphne Brightwell (formerly Brightwell Dispenseries) His Grandchilren, Geoff and Elizabeth used to affectionatley refer to him as "Mad Grandad." I'm not sure why!

By Helen Wagstaff
On 30/07/2013

I have two paintings by George Sims, an oil and a water colour. I have been talking about him to his old neighbour Brenda Hall. Maybe I can take a photo of them and put them on the site, will see what I can do.

By Terry Howard
On 02/08/2013

I have just come across this two years after your online conversation. Sydney Gravett was my father!  (He HATED anyone spelling it with an i). We left Newhaven and Brightwell Dispensers - my husband's business in Railway Road - in 1973 and moved to Somerset.  My dad died in 1970 I think but I'm 90 next month so don't remember the exact date!  He had several exhibitions in Newhaven with the local art group and George Sims was a friend of his. My dad's paintings were certainly never used on the railways - he never achieved that sort of fame!! He was quite prolific and sold a lot of paintings having come from a family of painters.  My brother Guy became the official artist and photographer at Glyndebourne and I paint flowers in watercolour. If anyone would like to contact me I'd love to hear from you.  I still have several of my dad's paintings.  Daphne Brightwell

By Daphne Brightwell
On 17/10/2015

I remember Mr Gravett and you Daphne. We lived in the flat above you in Rosewalk Close. I remember your father painting two lovely pictures on the walls of one of the rooms in your flat. My maiden name is Tarrant and I had a brother Martyn.

By Pauline Colwell
On 25/10/2015

Pauline, I remember my mother used to take my brother and I to visit your mother in Rose Walk Close.  She is Peggy Eager and is now 95.

By Carol Walton
On 05/11/2015

I posted on another thread earlier today, but this thread seems to have  has an intimate connection to the artist through his daughter.

I recently acquired a large quantity of watercolours and prints of Sydney Gravett along with a range of other one off artists and it looked to have a very personal connection to the artist with work not of a commercial nature but rather personal. Four works around a cat, Mr Bu(a)sh and there he is sat on the Path of a lovely wide semi detached, a series of studies on a card of the cat and a lovely portrait of him looking out to the garden. Then, what seem like reference works ... A lovely w/c of a flooded copse, two churches, one on the corner of a road that sweeps up the hill and wraps around it. Several prints .. It seems almost as if they are his Reference Collection.

I wonder if anyone can give a reason why such a collection came to auction in Cardiff together?

Might I be able to post some here to get a better idea of their subject matter?

Martin Reynolds

Please do post them on Our Newhaven, but you'll need to create a new page for this. Simple to do, and there are instructions available from our home page. Andy-Editor

By Martin Reynolds
On 09/08/2017

I have Just inherited three of S.Gravett's pictures. They originally belonged to my grandfather Ernest Williams who knew him.

The first picture is of the sheet loft by the Ark Inn, then a painting of the original Buckle Inn painted from near the Seaford Yacht Club.

Then one he painted of my Grandfather in cartoon style - my Grandfather is running down the street in his nightshirt with a shotgun being fired behind him. The title Is ERNEST LOTHARIO WILLIAMS.

We'd love to see these. Is it possible for you to photograph the paintings and send us the images at  We could then add them to this page or create a new page for you. Thanks, Andy-Editor

By Linda Mason/Hampton
On 21/10/2018

I bought a painting (a cliff scene) signed S.A. Gravett at an auction in Cork, Ireland, earlier this year, so I was delighted to come across this page! It's really interesting to find out a bit of background information about the painter.

Photo now added, many thanks Vicky! Andy-Editor

By Vicky Janssens
On 07/10/2019

So a few years later!  Sydney’s daughter Daphne is still going strong at 96!  We’ve just looked this up again and Mum has loved reading it all again as her memory isn’t so good these days..  Happy memories of a lovely man, a real character. Jennie, Daphne’s daughter

By Daphne Brightwell
On 18/05/2022

Hi Daphne and Jennie, I also came from Newhaven and relocated to Somerset in 1971. Are we talking about the " Brightwell Engineers " at Railway Road ?. My late wife Elsie, belonged to the Somerset Guild of Spinners and Weavers and there is something in the "fog" at the back of my mind telling me that one of her spinning wheels was in fact made by Mr Brightwell after his relocation to Somerset. I think it was called the " Brightwell Spinning Wheel " and it caused quite a buzz in the spinning circle.

By Colin Brandon
On 20/05/2022

This has been a great read! I am currently secretary of Newhaven art club and I'm doing a small project on how the club started to current day, one of the members Gwyneth Harperg's father were in the office together with George Simms & Sydney Gravett.  

By Dawnie Thompson
On 09/03/2023

I was just pointing my niece to this page as she was asking about my grandad Sydney and I see there has been more comment since I last looked!  
Yes, my dad’s factory was Brightwell on Station Road until dad sold up and we moved to Somerset around 1974 where he made fine woodwork in his workshop behind our cottage. His spinning wheels were precision engineering in wood and he had orders from some very far flung places. 
So interesting to read this thread again and I will ask mum what else she might remember of all the names mentioned here even though her memory isn’t so good now. 
I can’t imagine how some pictures came to be at auction but Mr Bush was grandad’s sister’s cat in Rochester!

Jennie, Sydney’s granddaughter March 2023

By Jennie O'Beirne (nee Brightwell)
On 12/03/2023

Hello! This is fascinating, Do you have a photo of Sydney Gravett? it would be great to add one of him in my documentary about how Newhaven art club originated, as he is mentioned so would be nice to put a face to his name... I would be most grateful


We don't have one and I can't find anything on line. Perhaps our friends at Newhaven Museum might have something? Worth contacting them. The museum opens at Easter and they have a website with contact details.


By Dawnie Thompson
On 29/03/2023

Thank you for your reply, I've searched on line too.. but yes! perhaps the museum have one. 

By Dawnie
On 30/03/2023

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