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Balmer, George (DNB00)

BALMER, GEORGE (d. 1846), painter, was the son of a house-painter, and destined to follow his father's trade. But that he soon abandoned, and, coming under the influence of Ewbank, made his first endeavours in painting. His earliest works being exhibited at Newcastle attracted some atention, and he followed up his success with a large picture, 'A View of the Port of Tyne.' in 1831 he exhibited at Newcastle some water-colour paintings, of which one, 'The Juicy Tree bit,' was thought the best in the rooms. In conjunction with J. W. Carmichael he painted 'Collingwood at the Battle of Trafalgar.' This work is now in the Trinity House of Newcastle. In 1832 or 1833 he made a tour on the continent, travelling by way of Holland to the Rhine and Switzerland, and returning by way of Paris to England. Many pictures resulted from this excursion; a large 'View of Bingen' and one of 'Haarlem Mere' being amongst the best. Balmer made much and good use of his foreign sketches, but his was a properly English genius. He 'was never so much in his element as when painting a stranded ship, an old lighthouse, or the ' rippling of waves on a shingly coast.' In 1836, in the employ of Messrs. Finden, Balmer began a publication called 'The Ports and Harbours of England.' It began well, but ended ill. He retired from London in 1842, and gave up painting. He died near Ravensworth, in Durham, 10 April 1846. Pictures of shipping, of street arcnitecture, and of rural scenery came alike from his hand. His prints show great versatility. His reputation in his day was considerable.

[Ottley's Supplement to Bryan, 1866; Cooper's Biog. Dict.; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of Eng. School.]

E. R.