Christening Sunday (South Harting, Sussex)

James Charles, 1851 - 1906

Christening Sunday (South Harting, Sussex)

James Charles 1851 - 1906


A christening scene beneath the steps of a church with a throng of guests descending the steps towards the baby, who is the focal point of the image, and is being held by a woman at the bottom of the steps. This scene clearly represents Victorian society; for example the men’s attire consists of three-piece suits with top hats or boiler hats, which are representative of the late-Victorian period. Also individual characters are in mourning, dressing in black, one example of this is the figure towards the back right of the painting. The lady's face is veiled and her child wear a bonnet also in black. The scene is depicted in illuminated white and cream towards the middle-centre of the image, highlighting the central figures of the man and woman whose child has been christened. The church and the (guest's clothes) are depicted in more varied tones of brown and yellow. The scene provides a stark contast between the couple who are holding their baby joyously, and the lady in mourning whose face is hidden from view and cast in shadow.

Object Name

Christening Sunday (South Harting, Sussex)

Creators Name

James Charles

Date Created



unframed: 159.6cm x 126.7cm
framed: 199cm x 167.2cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


© Manchester Art Gallery

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