Chambers, George (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

CHAMBERS, GEORGE (1803–1840), marine painter, born in 1803, was the son of a Whitby seaman. When ten years old he was sent to sea in a coasting vessel, and was afterwards apprenticed to the master of a brig trading in the Mediterranean and Baltic. He was early devoted to drawing, and pleased his skipper and crew by making sketches of different kinds of vessels, so much so that at the boy's request the captain cancelled his indentures in order that he might give himself wholly to painting. Returning to Whitby he got employment as a house-painter. In the spare time which was allowed him from this occupation he took lessons in drawing. For three years he continued in this way; then, becoming impatient, he worked his way to London in a trading vessel. Here he made drawings of ships and did generally what he could for a living, till, fortunately, he attracted the attention of the then important Mr. T. Horner, and was engaged for seven years on the painting of that gentleman's great panorama of London. After this he became scene-painter at the Pavilion Theatre. His paintings attracted the attention of Admiral Lord Mark Kerr, and through him he was introduced to William IV. He painted in water colours as well as in oils, was elected an associate of the Water-Colour Society in 1834, and in 1836 a full member. He was a very frequent exhibitor at this society's galleries and at the Royal Academy of marine pictures, his naval battles being considered his best. Two important oil paintings by Chambers are in the collection of marine pictures at Greenwich: ‘The Bombardment of Algiers in 1816,’ and the ‘Capture of Portobello.’ He was in a fair way to more than ordinary success, but his naturally weak constitution was worn out, and he died on 28 Oct. 1840. He had married young, and left a widow and children unprovided for. Among artists who showed kindness to the family were Turner and Clarkson Stanfield. The former ‘gave 10l. to the widow and attended the sale (of his pictures, &c.) on purpose to help it.’ The latter put the last touches on a painting which the artist had left unfinished.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Eng. School; Graves's Dict. of Artists; Watkins's Memoir of Chambers, the Marine Artist, Whitby, 1837; Watkins's Life and Career of George Chambers, 1841; Art Union, 1840, p. 186.]

E. R.