Captain Siegfried Sassoon, CBE, MC, (1886-1967);
London Sotheby's 10th July 1991, lot 82.
Leeds, Temple Newsam House, Julius Caesar Ibbetson, 1759-1817, 22 September - 31st October 1948, No. 57.
R. M Clay, Julius Caesar Ibbetson, 1759-1817, London, 1948, p.123. (as Market Day).
Ibbetson settled his young family in Masham, North Yorkshire, in 1804 and spent the rest of his life there. (Indeed he is buried in the churchyard only a short distance from the setting of this painting). To earn a living, Ibbetson carried on painting the views of the Lake District and, to a lesser extent, Scotland which his patrons desired. For this reason, it seems, he produced relatively few views of Masham itself, and of those known today, this market scene is among the very finest.
Many of Ibbetson’s later works have not stood the test of time well, often being excessively dark on account of the bitumen and other substances he mixed into his paints in experimentation. This is not the case in this beautifully preserved canvas: the palette and style, even in these last years, owe much to his profound understanding of the Dutch Old Masters, whose work he restored and copied as a youth. It is a lively gathering, with tents erected for travellers, and, in the centre left, a group of butchers has gathered around a fine beast: their steels hanging down from their waists leave no doubt as to their trade ! With the inclusion of his beloved Bella (bottom left), the characterful faces of local people whom he probably knew well, assorted cattle and a donkey, it is a typical Ibbetson composition; the handling and subtle colouring are those of a Nicholas Berchem or a Philips Wouwerman, who would have felt very much at home in this scene.