Market scene oil painting by H. C. Bryant, 19th century

By Bryant, Henry Charles (English, 1812-1890)


Displaying highly impressive detailing and employing a vibrant colour palette, Bryant brings this bustling market scene to life for the viewer.


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This superb painting is by the British artist Henry Charles Bryant, who specialised in farmyard and market scenes noted for their exceptional attention to detail.

Ensconced in an elegant giltwood frame, the scene is a riot of colours and details. The canvas is filled with every kind of market produce imaginable, overflowing with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and game. From the smallest radish to the large flowering cabbages, every item is rendered with expert verisimilitude, creating an almost trompe l’oeil effect that invites the viewer into the realism of the scene.

Bryant has imbued a strong sense of character into this work, as different figures are seen going about their day. In the left foreground, we witness an elderly seller marketing her wares to a potential customer, whilst in the right middle ground a group of fascinated children pet and play with fluffy rabbits. Byrant continues the narrative right to the horizon, depicting in the far background a seller wrangling a goose out of a cage and a group of labourers unloading crates of vegetables. The viewer feels witness to a chaotic snapshot of a typical market day, that is evocatively rendered in a bright yet naturalistic colour palette.

Bryant’s works sought to emulate the style and subject matter of 17th century Dutch genre painting. Developing from the realism and detailed activity of Early Netherlandish painting (such as works by Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder), these Dutch paintings represented scenes or events from everyday life, such as markets, domestic interiors, or street scenes. This work in the Mayfair Gallery collection is one of the best examples of Bryant’s expert emulation of the Dutch style.

Working mainly in London, Bryant exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy, British Institution, and Royal Society of British Artists over the course of the late 19th century. The painting is signed ‘H. C. Bryant 1877’ in the lower left-hand corner.

Brimming with realistic details and displaying superb painterly techniques, this spectacular work is one of Bryant’s finest paintings of this kind.

Canvas: Height 51cm, width 76.5cm
Frame: Height 68cm, width 93.5cm, depth 5cm


Sold at Christie's, London, 28 November 2000, lot 43 (£47,000).


Artist / Maker
By Bryant, Henry Charles (English, 1812-1890)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Figurative Art, Genre, Victorian
Oil on Canvas


68 cm / 26.8 inches
93.5 cm / 36.6 inches
5 cm / 2 inches


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