The Butter Market in Brussels

This oil painting on panel shows the Butter Market in Brussels. This work by Belgian painter Charles Brias (1798-1884) was recently added to our collections. Charles Brias was born in Mechelen but lived and worked in Brussels.
Through quasi-comic events, this work depicts daily life at the beginning of the 19th century, on the outskirts of Brussels’ emblematic Butter Market. Parallel to the excitement of this scene, Brussels residents of all ages and social backgrounds go about their daily business.

Situation of the Butter Market
At the start of the 19th Century, the Brussels Butter Market was located on the site vacated by the demolition of the convent of the Recollecten, a few steps from the Grand Place. In 1869, the Butter Market in turn had to make way for the construction works of the Bourse.

Why did we include this work in our collections?
• The painting shows a very lively image of the market.
• It teaches us that people entered the market through a gateway.
• The painting offers a, to date, barely documented view of the exterior wall and a side entrance to the Butter Market.
• It is interesting to see the various artisans at work and the workings of the market.
• The focus here is on the various characters and this differs greatly from the way Van Moer painted the Butter Market, where the characters retreat more into the background.

Would you like to know more about this acquisition? You will find more details about the work itself in the inventory sheet here available.

Charles Brias, The Butter Market in Brussels, 1831 ©Brussels City Museum