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Biography and current catalogue for

William Finden (1787-1852) 

This engraving was made by William Finden (1787-1852) from an original study by George Balmer (1806 – 1846). The original work was produced for the part-work series “Ports, Harbours, Watering Places and Coast Scenery of Great Britain”, London 1836-1842.


William Finden was known for his neat style and smooth finish, which made his pictures very attractive and popular. He mainly worked on book illustrations throughout his life, although there are several large plates known by his hand. Finden started as an apprentice to James Mitan and was influenced by James Heath, whose works he studied in his spare time. He made many noteworthy plates, including Smirke’s illustrations to Don Quixote, King George IV after Sir Thomas Lawrence and Highlanders Return and the Village Festival after Wilkie. Together with his brother he created a series of landscape and portrait illustrations to the life and works of Byron in 1833. He lost most of his fortune to an ill-advised project; The Gallery of British Art in 1838. Nevertheless he had a successful career and was a much admired engraver. He died in London.


George Balmer was an English landscape and marine painter and illustrator. He originally followed his father’s trade being a house painter, but eventually took up art. His work is generally classified for it’s detailed and neat style, being influenced by the work of John Wilson Ewbank. After original success in exhibitions in Newcastle, he rose to fame with his collaboration with John Wilson Carmichael, The Heroic Exploit of Admiral Collingwood at Trafalgar.


As many artists in this era he made a tour of the continent, travelling to Holland, the Rhine and Switzerland and returning via Paris. He studied the works at the Louvre and had a successful exhibition upon his return in Britain with pictures from the Rhine, coastal scenes and moonlight views.


In 1836 he worked together with William Finden on the publication of The Ports and Harbours of England. He produced many drawings for the book, but was disappointed by the limited extend of the publication. He retired in 1842 and gave up painting; he died in Durham in 1846.