George Chambers, 1803-1840: His Life and Work : the Sailor's Eye and the Artist's Hand

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Antique Collectors' Club, 1996 - Art - 216 pages
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This biography of George Chambers, arguably the most important marine painter of the nineteenth century, seeks to remedy the sad neglect into which art appreciation has allowed him to fade in the years since his death. It brings the benefit of extensive new picture research to illustrate the biographical narrative of a young artist who, from humble beginnings and with no formal training, rose in his short life to royal patronage and national renown and who, uniquely, became the embodiment of the true romantic spirit in sea painting.
Chambers' work is remarkable for its equal mastery of oils and watercolours, in a range of marine-related subject-matter. After early periods as a panorama and theatrical scene painter, his work falls into three main thematic groups.
The first group, which best expresses his romantic spirit, comprises works from nature in which he sought to capture and interpret its moods through depiction of sea and sky, ships, boats and people. People were important to him and always figure in his scenes. The second group, waterside views, vary from peaceful scenes or riverside buildings with people about their tasks to crowded royal celebrations such as 'The Opening of London Bridge'. The third group is perhaps his best known - paintings of naval engagements commissioned by naval commanders, his most important for the Greenwich Hospital Gallery.
The biographical narrative quotes generously from the Memoir published in 1841 by his close friend, John Watkins, based largely on his correspondence with the artist. In Alan Russett's new work the life story is amplified and interwoven with a discussion and assessment of individual paintings and drawings. He concludes with an appraisal of George Chambers' contribution to and position in nineteenth century British art.

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His First and Best Friend Crawford London
Panorama Painting at the Colosseum

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