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George Balmer (1805-1846)

The landscape painter and illustrator, George Balmer, developed his artistic talents in Newcastle upon Tyne at the time that the town was considered to have ‘about the best of the provincial exhibitions in England’ (John Wykeham Archer, obituary of George Balmer, Art Union, October 1846). He established himself there as a landscape and marine painter, before gaining experience through a Continental tour. Settling in London, he worked as a topographical illustrator, as well as increasing his reputation as a painter, producing work that shows the influence of J M W Turner and has been compared to that of Charles Bentley.

George Balmer was born in North Shields, Northumberland, on 3 November 1805, the second son of George Balmer, a house-painter, and Ann Reed of Stannington, Northumberland. At the age of 14, he began an apprenticeship with his father, and subsequently joined the Edinburgh firm of the Newcastle decorator, Thomas Coulson. The landscapes of his colleague, John Wilson Ewbank, inspired him to earn his living as a painter.

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