Biography

Birth date: 11 May 1883
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Enmore
Death date: 22 January 1937
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Manly
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Born in Enmore, Sydney, Charles David Jones Bryant grew up in the beachside suburb of Manly, where he developed a fondness for the ocean and was a keen surfer and sailor. Bryant attended Sydney Grammar School and began a career as a clerk at the Bank of New South Wales (NSW), also studying art under W. Lister Lister and exhibiting with the Royal Art Society of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London, first receiving instruction from John Hassell, then studying marine painting under seascape painter Julius Olsson RA at St. Ives in Cornwall. From early in his career he was interested in depicting coastal scenes and maritime subjects, once stating "I'm only happy when I am on the sea or near it". Bryant also worked as an illustrator, as with the Cassell & Co. Publication, Our ships, as well as exhibiting at the Royal Academy and in the Paris Salons.

In November 1917, he was appointed an official war artist, and formally enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 4 December 1917 with the rank of honorary lieutenant. Eight days later, he travelled to Messines in Belgium attached to the 2nd Division of the AIF. He wrote to Captain H.C. Smart, "I am feeling very fit but conditions for painting are very bad owing to the extreme cold - paint freezing all the time". The first month of his appointment was further hindered, as the bulk of his painting materials did not arrived until 15 January 1918. Yet, he persevered and managed several pictures before moving to the Western Front in France in early 1918, completing sketches and small paintings of bomb damaged villages and landscapes.

Bryant's appointment was particularly influenced by his reputation as a marine painter and he was requested by the AIF to illustrate the embarkation and disembarkation of Australian troops at Le Havre and Boulogne. In several paintings, he shows the 'dazzle' camouflaged hospital ships docked at busy ports, waiting to transport the seriously wounded back to England. Bryant's initial appointment of three months was regularly extended, terminated after the end of the war on 12 December 1918.

Bryant was then commissioned to paint the 1914 departure of the first contingent of the AIF and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force from Albany, Western Australia. He returned to Australia in 1921 and two years later was commissioned by the Australian War Memorial to paint works relating to the 1914 occupation of German New Guinea by Australian troops. Based in the coastal town of Rabaul, Bryant produced numerous intimate colourful images of the region that clearly show the presence of the Commonwealth, while retaining a strong sense of the serene atmosphere of sea, coastline and landscape.

Bryant was a founder of the Manly Art Gallery in 1924 and in 1929 vice president of the Royal Art Society of NSW. He continued to exhibit his works in Australia. Following a short illness, Bryant died in Sydney on 22 January 1937.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Art

Boulogne in wartime, January 1918

Painting of the harbour and port at Boulogne, France, during the First World War with ambulance trucks in the foreground, a French seaplane landing on the water in the middle and camouflaged troop or leave ships in the background in front of the city of Boulogne. In the foreground is also a French...

ART03612

Raluana Head

Depicts a panoramic view of the harbour with a stone pier and mountains from Raluana Point in New Guinea. The mountains in the background of the scene are, from left to right: North Daughter, Mother with Old Crater in front and South Daughter. Raluana Head was the site of a battery erected by...

ART03614

Commandant's Quarters, Herbertshohe

Depicts a house at Herbertshoehe, New Britain, surrounded by jungle, which was used as headquarters by the Commandant of the garrison stationed there, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF). Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on leaving school...

ART03617

Marching through Rabaul

Depicts members of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) marching through Rabaul, New Guinea, from the wharf, past the Department of Trade and Customs Building. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of nine and on leaving school worked as a clerk in the...

ART03619

Flagstaff, Herbertshohe

Depicts the flagstaff at Herbertshohe in New Britain, where the German flag was pulled down and the British flag hoisted in September 1914. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on leaving school worked as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and...

ART03622

Waterfront Herbertshohe, where the troops landed from boats 11 September 1914

Depicts the waterfront at Herbertshohe, New Britain, with the beach, palm trees and a number of men spear fishing. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on leaving school worked as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at...

ART03623

Waterfront at Rabaul

Depicts and number of buildings, including Government House, and the waterfront at Rabaul, New Guinea. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian War Records between 1923 and 1926 of the Australian occupation of German New Guinea. He began sketching in...

ART03625

Proclamation Square, Rabaul

Depicts Proclamation Square in Rabaul, New Guinea, where the British flag was hoisted and the proclamation of military occupation of New Guinea made to the residents in September 1914. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian War Records between 1923...

ART03626

Galele Bay, North Coast, near Rabaul

Depicts the scenery at Galele Bay, on the north coast, near Rabaul, in New Guinea with a number of small boats in the water. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian War Records between 1923 and 1926 of the Australian occupation of German New Guinea....

ART03627

Administrator's office, Rabaul

Depicts the administration bungalow at Rabaul, New Guinea, which was used during the early part of the British military occupation. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian War Records between 1923 and 1926 of the Australian occupation of German New...

ART03628

Beehive Rocks from Matupi Island

Depicts a view out across a bay towards rock formations in the sea, the Beehive Rocks from Matupi Island, near Rabaul, New Guinea. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian War Records between 1923 and 1926 of the Australian occupation of German New...

ART03630

Toma

Depicts a view of part of Toma, with jungle and banana plants in the foreground and a homestead on the top of a hill in the background. The Governor and German administration moved here from 6 August 1914. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian...

ART03631

The Bainings from Mt Wunakokor

Depicts a view across the landscape in New Guinea with the Mt Wunakoko- Bainings Mountains in the distance, capturing the country near Taulit. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian War Records between 1923 and 1926 of the Australian occupation of...

ART03632

Military cemetery, Rabaul

This painting depicts a military cemetery in Rabaul, New Britain. Five crosses are placed in a line to mark graves which run alongside a small track, and behind these is dense jungle. (from left to right) Lieut General Charles R Elwell RN-/Capt R.C.A. Pockley AMC - Henry Street A.B.R.A.N.R. Peter...

ART03633

Waterfront at Rabaul

View of part of the waterfront at Rabaul showing the New Guinea Company's large store on the right, used as barracks by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF).

ART03634

Tunnel on Rabaul North Coast Road

The tunnel leading from Rabaul to the North Coast of New Britain. The surrounding hills form a 'V' above the tunnel, and two people can be seen using the tunnel, one of them riding a bicycle.

ART03635

Rabaul

View across the habour in Rabaul, showing the village and jetties stretching out in to the harbour. The volcano 'Mother' can be seen in the background, as can another volcano 'South Daughter' at far right.

ART03643

Australian squadron in Blanche Bay, New Britain

An urgent task undertaken by Australia after the outbreak of war, August 1914, was the occupation of German New Guinea and other German Pacific outposts. The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force was quickly raised and despatched to New Britain, landing near the German capital, Rabaul,...

ART07546

Landing at Kabakaul

Depicts Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, HMAS (1913-1928), Warrego and Yarra, a naval contingent landing at jetty from ship's boats, to proceed to Bitapaka to capture the wireless signal station there, naval ships keep watch off shore in Australia's first action in First World...

ART08010

Her last voyage

The Royal Australian Navy battle cruiser, HMAS Australia, is escorted by other RAN vessels, being towed out to sea before being sunk with full honours, under terms of the Washington Treaty.

ART09749

HMAS Sydney's fight with a Zeppelin in the North Sea

Featured in this work is an unusual action involving the Australian light cruiser 'Sydney', which took place on 4 May 1917. Under Captain John Dumaresq the cruiser was leading a British ship, 'Dublin', and four destroyers on a sweep of channels south east of Rosyth, Scotland, between the Forth and...

ART12418

HMAS Tingira

Painting of the Royal Australian Navy training ship HMAS Tingira (formerly sailing ship Sobraon) being towed from its anchorage in Rose Bay to Garden Island. It is a bark-rigged sailing ship.

ART14073

Ultimo Crater

Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on leaving school worked as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in Cornwall. In December 1917 Bryant was appointed an official war artist attached to the Second Division...

ART00156

Two soldiers in trench with Lewis gun

Depicts two Australian soldiers, one who is smoking a pipe, standing in a trench near a gun mount with a Lewis gun, during the First World War. Charles Bryant had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine...

ART00161

Ambulance wagons waiting for hospital ship, Boulogne, France

Depicts four Ambulance wagons on the dock, waiting for a hospital ship in Boulogne, Pas de Calais, France during the First World War. A large hospital ship is seen in the background, steaming into the harbour. Boulogne was a primary base in France for the arrival and departure of troops to and from...

ART00164

Hospital ships, Boulogne, May 1918

Painting of a camouflaged hospital ship and smaller ship in the foreground at the port at Pas de Calais, Boulogne, France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and...

ART00166

On the quay, Boulogne, waiting for hospital ship

Depicts a number of vehicles on the dock at Boulogne, Pas de Calaise, France, waiting for hospital ships during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine...

ART00170

Hospital ships, Le Havre

Painting of an unidentified camouflaged hospital ship at the wharf in the harbour at Le Havre, France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine...

ART00171

Leave ships, Boulogne

Depicts a number of ships in the harbour at Boulogne, Pas de Calais, Western Front during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in...

ART00174

Transports at le Havre

Depicts camouflage ships at the port in Le Havre, France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in Cornwall. In December 1917...

ART00176

Camouflaged hospital ships, Boulogne

Painting of an unidentified camouflaged hospital ships at the wharf in Boulogne, France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St....

ART00188

Sinking of the L15 airship

Portrays the destruction of a German airship into the North Sea. The event occurred on 1 March 1916 after a raid by the airship over London suburbs. The airship was brought down by the ground artillery and it managed to move away from the land before finally crashing into the sea.

ART50236

Army camp building in France

Australian soldiers guarding a red army camp building in France. The building has a green door and is surrounded by trees. A sign about the building has been nailed to a tree and a path leads past this tree to the building.

ART91987

Hospital ships, Le Havre

Depicts camouflaged hospital ships, small sailing boats and people walking along a pier at the port of Le Havre in France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and...

ART00177

AE 2 in the Sea of Marmora, April 1915

This painting shows the Australian submarine 'AE2' on patrol in the Sea of Marmora. The 'AE2' was the first allied submarine to penetrate the Narrows of the Dardanelles. The artist has painted 'AE2' on the bow of the boat to indicate that it is Australian, however the pendant number '82' on the...

ART09016

Motor transports on the Armentieres-Bailleul Road

Painting of a convoy of Albion trucks passing through a war damaged landscape and rows of trees, on the Armentieres-Bailleul Road, Armentieres, Lys Area, on the Western Front during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on leaving school worked as a...

ART00157

Soldier in trench with periscope, Messines

Depicts an unidentified Australian soldier in a trench, looking through a periscope at Messines during the First World War. He wears an 'A' for Anzac colour patch and has sandbags instead of puttees around his lower legs. He is standing on duckboards on a firing step. Charles Bryant had some...

ART00162

Red Lodge, Hyde Park Corner, Ploegsteert, November 1917

Painting of a war damaged landscape, soldiers and village buildings, including the Red Lodge at Hyde Park Corner in Ploegsteert, Belgium, during the First World War. Although this work has the date 'November 1917' in the title, the work was most likely completed in December 1917, as the artist did...

ART00168

Hill 63, Battalion Headquarters, winter

Painting of Hill 63, the Battalion Headquarters in Belgium during the First World War. The shelter was known as the `Catacombs' (a massive system of underground bivouacs) was dug by the 1st Australian Tunnellling Company in the spring of 1917, and was closer to Ploegsteert (Plugstreet) in Belgium...

ART00169

First convoy leaving Albany

Painting of the first convoy of Australian and New Zealand troops leaving King George's Sound, 1 November 1914.

ART12417

First convoy at sea

Painting of a convoy of thirty-eight troop ships, escorted by four naval ships, with the British cruiser HMS 'Minotaur' in foreground leading the convoy. This ship is followed by SS 'Orvieto' carrying General Bridges and the AIF Headquarters staff. The other naval escort ships were RAN light...

ART00190

Aveluy Church

Depicts the war damaged church and surrounding landscape at Aveluy, France on the Western Front during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at...

ART00179

Butte de Warlencourt, Somme

Depicts a wrecked, war damaged landscape, with a few smashed trees, at Warlencourt, on the Somme, France. Charles Bryant had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in Cornwall. In...

ART00160

Shell holes

Depicts a war damaged landscape with trenches, duckboards and shell holes, on the Somme in France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting...

ART00175

Campac Station, R.G. dump

Painting of Campac Station with a wrecked landscape nearby in France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in Cornwall. In...

ART00165

Departing for the war: farewell to wife and child

A soldier embraces his wife while his young daughter looks on, before departing for war.

ART19602

Bapaume Road

Depicts a war damaged landscape in France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in Cornwall. In December 1917 he was...

ART00173

Tank near Pozieres

Painting of a damaged and abandoned Mark I male tank in a war damged landscape near Pozieres, France during the First World War. The wheel at the rear of this tank identifies it as a British Mark I. The Mark I tank was one of the earliest tanks to be used in the First World War. The wheel was...

ART00167

"Gibralter", strong point, Pozieres

Depicts a war-damaged landscape , with the remains of a building and smashed trees at Pozieres, France, during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) was a painter who studied in London in 1908 and with the marine painter, J. Olsson at St. Ives, Cornwall. He first exhibited his works in...

ART00187

Machine gun position

Painting of a machine gun position and entrenchments on the Somme, France, during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on leaving school worked as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in...

ART00158

Ovillers Church

Depicts the ruined church and war damaged landscape at Ovillers in the Albert Bapaume area on the Somme, France during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied...

ART00178

Australian troops disembarking at Boulogne

Painting of Australian troops disembarking from ships at the wharf in Boulogne, France, during the First World War. The artist exhibited two related works, 'Leave Ships from Blighty, off Boulogne' and 'Boulogne in War Time', at the Atheaneum Gallery , Melbourne, in June 1923. Charles Bryant ...

ART00189

Wireless station, Bita Paka, Rabaul

Painting of the wireless station at Bita Paka in Rabaul. There is a large signals tower rising up over civilian buildings, the scene set against lush green hillside and cloudscape.

ART03639

Hoisting the Union Jack, Rabaul, 13 September 1914

Painting of a flag raising ceremony at Rabaul, New Guinea, by members of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) who are hoisting the Union Jack after occupying part of German New Guinea in September 1914. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on...

ART03618

Neuve Eglise Church

Depicts the war-damaged church and surrounding landscape at Neuve Eglise on the Western Front in Belgium during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine...

ART00186

Not titled [Australian Soldier in France]

Drawing of an Australian soldier wearing a great coat, slouch hat with a rising sun badge attached to it and carrying a pack in France during the First World War. Charles Bryant had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and...

ART00163

Messines Road, winter, December 1917

Depicts a war damaged landscape along the Messine Road in Belgium, winter, December 1917 during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St....

ART00183

Ruins of Messines

Depicts an image of ruined and war damaged churches in Messines, during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in Cornwall. In...

ART00172

On the Messines Road

Depicts a war damaged landscape along the Messines Road in Belgium during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St. Ives in Cornwall. In...

ART00182

German observation post, Messines

Depicts a damaged German observation post in a war damaged landscape at Messines in Belgium during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) had some early art lessons before beginning his career as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and studied marine painting at St....

ART00184

Ultimo Crater

Depicts the Ultimo Crater and war damaged landscape at Messines, Belgium on the Western Front during the First World War. It is mentioned in Charles Bean, `Official History of Australia in the war of 1914-18' vol. IV where he notes; `Still farther to the right, where the flank rested on the...

ART00180

A street in Neuve Eglise

Depicts a street scene with ruined and war damaged buildings at Neuve Eglise, on the Western Front in Belgium during the First World War. Charles Bryant (1883-1937) began art lessons at the age of 9 and on leaving school worked as a clerk in the Bank of NSW. In 1908 he travelled to London and...

ART00159

Blanche Bay from Rabaul, showing Beehive Rocks in the middle distance

Blanche Bay from Rabaul showing the Beehive Rocks in the middle distance.

ART03641

The harbour from Fort Raluana, Blanche Bay

Depicts the harbour from Fort Raluana, Blanche Bay at Rabaul in New Guinea. This painting is one of a number of the commissioned works Bryant produced for Australian War Records between 1923 and 1926 of the Australian occupation of German New Guinea. He began sketching in Rabaul between September...

ART03629

Timeline

Date of birth 1883-05-11
Date of death 1937-01-22