Henry Bryant, Bridge of Boats, Ceylon - Original 19th-century graphite drawing

An original early 19th-century graphite drawing, Henry Bryant Bridge of Boats, Ceylon.

A highly detailed pencil drawing, showing a pontoon bridge constructed over a wide river. An inscription on the verso reads ‘Bridge of Boats. Near Colombo on the Kandy Road. Ceylon.’ Such bridges were often used in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), where monsoon rains could swell rivers suddenly and dramatically, making it difficult to erect permanent structures.

Some age toning as shown.
19.8cm x 27.2cm.

This work comes from a Victorian album containing a wide variety of watercolour paintings and pencil sketches, all from the early decades of the nineteenth century, and many with a connection to India.

The album seems to have belonged to an HS Bryant: one of its pages is inscribed ‘HS Bryant’s diary,’ while another (also signed HS Bryant) relates the circumstances in which a sketch was made, and others are attributed to ‘my mother, Lady Bryant.’ Given the connections of many of these pictures to Simla in India, this would seem to be a reference to Elizabeth, Lady Bryant, who was the wife of Major General Sir Jeremiah Bryant CB (1783 - 1845), an officer in the Bengal Army. That would make HS Bryant the artist Henry Bryant, who was born in India, and painted many Indian landscape views.

Bryant seems to have collected many of these pictures for their personal connection to himself: there are sketches by his mother, and others that he seems to have made himself, showing the places he visited. At the same time, he seems to have had a keen eye for high quality work produced by other artists. Among the works in this collection are ones by some prominent nineteenth century artists, including Sir Charles D’Oyly, Sir Richard Westmacott, John Lewis Roget, and John Henderson.

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Product code: JG-182

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