Barn Interior, possibly near Charleston

by Duncan Grant


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 47.6 x 23.8 in./ 121.0 x 60.5 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated ’42
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 5064 Categories: ,

This peaceful painting by the eminent British painter Duncan Grant shows the inside of a barn in Sussex, likely near Charleston. The composition is almost theatrical with the barn painted from the side and sacks of grain and the hay stack strategically placed in a tableau. There is a real sense of this work having been composed in situ, a technique Grant learnt whilst in France.

Charleston was the hub of the Bloomsbury set, and also the home Grant shared with Vanessa Bell until their respective deaths. Charleston became a work of art in itself, with Grant and Bell decorating every surface and wall they could find.  It wasn’t long before it became a retreat and centre for the Bloomsbury Group, with Charleston becoming a manifestation of their interest in the decorative within fine art.

The house, outbuildings and gardens were frequent subjects for Grant and this painting is a prime example of his work.


Thomas Agnew and Sons Ltd Label verso, no 13866;

Private Collection, United Kingdom

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Duncan Grant was a British artist known for his painterly representations of figures, still lifes, and landscapes. Grant’s work melded Post-Impressionism, the sculpture-like forms of Paul Cézanne, and the quiet naturalism of his friend the painter and art critic Roger Fry.

Born on 21st January, 1885 in Rothiemurchus, United Kingdom, he spent much of his childhood in India and Burma where his father was stationed. Educated in London, he went on to attend the Westminster School of Art, before traveling to Europe in 1906. While in Paris, he studied under Jacques-Émile Blanche and later met Gertrude Stein and Henri Matisse. After returning to London, he was introduced to the Bloomsbury group which included Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry, and later produced textile designs as part of Fry’s Omega Workshops. The artist notably went on to represent Britain in the 1926, 1932, and 1940 Venice Biennales. Over the following decades, his work became unfashionable until having a resurgence during the early 1960s in New York. Grant died on 8th May, 1978 at the age of 93 in Aldermaston, United Kingdom.


His works can now be found in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the National Portrait Gallery in London, among others.


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