C.J. Martin is thought to have been an American artist, whose few surviving works see him active in Rio c.1848-51 and in India in 1852-3. The present picture relates closely in subject to the large canvas by Martin (View of Rio de Janeiro, dated 1850) sold at Christie’s South Kensington, 24 May 1990, lot 14 (£55,000), which shows the sweeping panorama of the entrance to Guanabara Bay from the bayside lawn of a European merchant, painted with similar close attention to the group of Europeans and the flora in the garden. The similarities might suggest the same property is depicted here, although it has been suggested that the present picture shows Chácara do Céu, the property then of the English merchant Rowland Cox (later owned by the banker and industrialist, Viscount of Mauá, and now the site of the Museus Castro Maya), a property on the highest point of Santa Teresa. Glimpses of the water of the bay seen through the trees on the left do however seem to indicate the house is closer to the water’s edge, as in the large picture sold in 1990.
Another large canvas by Martin (Rio Bay, 1851, private collection) depicts a paddle-steamer entering Botafogo Bay with the majestic panorama of Rio’s mountains (Corcovado, Gavea and Dos Irmaos) beyond. Otherwise there are just a few smaller oil sketches of Brazilian streetsellers (unsigned and unattributed) in private collections, and two watercolours of landscapes in the environs of Rio de Janeiro, one signed and dated 1850 (Durrants Auction Rooms, Beccles, Suffolk, 28 June 2013, lot 59).
For Martin in India, painting in the same bright palette that marks out his Brazilian work, see Christie’s, London, 10 June 1997, lot 89 (Shipping on the Hooghly River, Calcutta with the Botanic Garden House and Reach, 1852) and the two paintings of shipping on the Hooghly at Calcutta, one dated 1852 and one 1853, in the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem.