Niemann, Edmund John (DNB00)

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NIEMANN, EDMUND JOHN (1813–1876), landscape-painter, was born at Islington, London, in 1813. His father, John Diederich Niemann, a native of Minden in Westphalia, was a member of Lloyd's, and young Niemann entered that establishment as a clerk at the age of thirteen. In 1839, however, a love of painting induced him to adopt art as a profession. He took up his residence at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, and remained there until 1848, when the foundation of the ‘Free Exhibition,’ held in the Chinese Gallery at Hyde Park Corner, of which he became secretary, led to his return to London. He began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1844, when he sent an oil painting, ‘On the Thames, near Great Marlow,’ and a drawing of ‘The Lime Kiln at Cove's End, Wooburn, Bucks.’ He continued to exhibit at the Academy until 1872; but more often his works appeared at the British Institution and the Society of British Artists, as well as at the Manchester, Liverpool, and other provincial exhibitions. His pictures, some of which are of large dimensions, illustrate every phase of nature. They are characterised by great versatility, but have been described as at once dexterous and depressing. The scenery of the Swale, near Richmond in Yorkshire, often furnished him with a subject. One of his best and largest works was ‘A Quiet Shot,’ afterwards called ‘Deer Stalking in the Highlands,’ exhibited at the British Institution in 1861. Among others may be named ‘Clifton,’ 1847; ‘The Thames at Maidenhead’ and ‘The Thames near Marlow,’ 1848; ‘Kilns in Derbyshire,’ 1849; ‘Troopers crossing a Moss,’ 1852; ‘Norwich,’ 1853; ‘The High Level Bridge, Newcastle,’ 1863; ‘Bristol Floating Harbour,’ 1864; ‘Hampstead Heath,’ 1865, and ‘Scarborough,’ 1872. He suffered much from ill-health during the last few years of his life, and there is a consequent falling off in his later works.

Niemann died of apoplexy, at the Glebe, Brixton Hill, Surrey, on 15 April 1876, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. Many of his works were exhibited at the opening of the Nottingham Museum and Art Galleries in 1878. The South Kensington Museum has a landscape by him, ‘Amongst the Rushes,’ and four drawings in water-colours. A ‘View on the Thames near Maidenhead’ is in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

[Times, 18 April 1876; Art Journal, 1876, p. 203; Royal Academy Exhibition Catalogues, 1844–72; British Institution Exhibition Catalogues (Living Artists), 1848–63; Exhibition Catalogues of the Society of British Artists, 1844–69; Critical Catalogue of some of the principal Pictures painted by the late Edmund J. Niemann (by G. H. Shepherd), 1890.]

R. E. G.