Dutch Shipping on the Scheldt, 1834

by James Wilson Carmichael


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 25 x 38.8 inches (63.5 x 98.5 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated (lower left)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas



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    Catalogue No: 5335 Categories: , Tags: , , , , , ,

    Access to the river Scheldt was the subject of the brief Kettle War of 1784, and in the French Revolutionary era shortly afterwards the river was reopened in 1792. Once Belgium had claimed its independence from the Netherlands in 1830, the treaty of the Scheldt determined that the river should remain accessible to ships heading for Belgian ports. Nevertheless, the Dutch government would demand a toll from passing vessels until 16 July 1863.

    Carmichael was born in Ouseburn, in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, on 9 June 1800, the son of William Carmichael, a ship’s carpenter. He went to sea at an early age, and spent three years on board a vessel sailing between ports in Spain and Portugal. On his return, he was apprenticed to a shipbuilding firm. After completing his apprenticeship, he devoted all his spare time to art, and eventually gave up the carpentry business, setting himself up as a drawing-master and miniature painter.

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    John Carmichael – John Wilson Carmichael (1799 -1868) – Marine; landscape and figure painter in oil and watercolour. Draughtsman, illustrator and drawing master. Born in Newcastle to a shipwright, so he did spend time at sea as a boy. Although he had established his painting workshop by the age of 23, which he shared with landscape painter Thomas Richardson Senior. He began exhibiting in 1825 at the Northumberland Institution for the Promotion of Fine Arts. In 1826 he married a Mary Sweet, they lived at various locations on Tyneside over the next twenty years.

    He remained a regular exhibitor at Newcastle and also sent work to the Carlisle Academy from 1828, the Northern Academy in 1829, the Royal Academy from 1835, Suffolk Street Gallery from 1838 and the British Institution from 1846. Throughout this period Carmichael developed a reputation as one of Northumbria’s best liked and respected marine and landscape artists. He did return to sea to participate officially in the Baltic theatre of the Crimean War.

    He gave up art and retired to Scarborough, where he died, after the early death of his son. Major exhibitions of his work where held at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle in 1982 in connection with the Newcastle Festival and in 1999 to mark the bicentenary of his birth. He also exhibited his work at the Royal Academy between 1835- 59, the British Institution, the Society of British Artists and elsewhere. His work is now collected internationally and can be seen at Greenwich, National Maritime museum, Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland art galleries.

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