George Balmer

The Dismantled Dutchman

George Balmer

The Dismantled Dutchman

This 19th-century oil painting by British artist George Balmer (1805-1846) depicts a coastal scene with beached ship.

As a young man, Balmer spent countless hours exploring the Northumberland coast with his uncle. Experiencing nature’s abundant sublimity - rolling waves breaking over rough shingle, wild gales in the colder months, the luminosity of the vivid Summers. These early trips underpinned his love for painting and he returned to these themes time and time again. Here, we see various figures dismantling a beached ship. One sat upon a partially submerged cart while others work on the shore. Imagine young Balmer’s curious mind when he first encountered such events.

Many of his works were produced on small panels - picturesque, exquisitely rendered vignettes, which capture a moment in time. They exist like fleeting memories immortalised in oil. Each captured with sincerity and underlined by a deep respect for the North Sea.

This particular work was produced in 1839 towards the end of his career. In an obituary, his good friend John Wykeham Archer explained that soon after, Balmer disappeared into relative obscurity and retired from the public eye. A humble gentleman who sought truth over riches.

Signed in the lower left, inscribed with date/title on the reverse and held in a gilt frame.

Medium: Oil on panel
Overall size: 12½” x 10½” / 32cm x 27cm
Year of creation: 1839
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £5,406

George Balmer

George Balmer

George Balmer was predominantly self-taught but also worked alongside John Wilson Ewbank (c.1779-1847). His works are held in numerous public collections including at the British Museum, V&A, Tyne & Wear Museums, Lady Lever Art Gallery, and the Städel Museum Frankfurt.

Learn more about George Balmer in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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