Circa 1840. Signed ‘Wm. Shayer’ lower left. Oil on canvas, in a carved gold-coloured wood frame. Dimensions: 28 inches x 38 inches (71 cm. x 91.5 cm.), framed: 35 x 43 inches (89 cm. x 109 cm.)
William Shayer Senior was a self-taught artist from the south of England who is known mainly for his paintings of woodland and village scenes. The present painting, showing a game seller with his daughter, two dogs and cart, offering a rabbit to a local family, with a thatched cottage and church tower beyond, is a charming, signed example of his oeuvre. Shayer lived in Shirley, Southampton, but painted throughout Hampshire and Dorset, especially in the New Forest, which probably provides the setting for this painting (see 'The Plough Inn', private collection, for a similar view in the New Forest). Shayer exhibited at the Royal Academy and his works are on display at various museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery and the Glasgow Art Gallery.