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Oil painting - River, with boats and shipping
  • River, with boats and shipping
    Adloff, Karl, born 1819 - died 1863
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River, with boats and shipping

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (probably, painted)

  • Date:

    1861 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Adloff, Karl, born 1819 - died 1863 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John M. Parsons

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Karl Adloff (1819-1853) was born and died in Düsseldorf, where he seems to have spent his entire life. He specialised in landscape paintings, especially in sea-views. Unfortunately, very little is known of his life.

This painting is a fine example of Adloff's output which essentially includes landscape paintings and sea-views in which his depiction of light infuses the compositions with a sense of calm. This work probably depicts a view of Amsterdam as on the right hand-side one can recognised the Prins Hendrikkede also called Schreierstoren, 'weeping tower, as the women used to wait here the return of their husbands from the sea. This painting is reminiscent of the 17th-century Dutch seascapes, which aroused a new interest in the 19th century.

Physical description

River in the foreground, centre left, jettisons a dilapidated wharf with a boathouse at the end, small rowing boats are making their way to and from the wharf where moored shipping can also be seen. To the right is the shore on which can be seen the a church spire and a loch opening.

Place of Origin

Germany (probably, painted)


1861 (painted)


Adloff, Karl, born 1819 - died 1863 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

Signed and dated lower left


Height: 91.4 cm estimate, Width: 147.3 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Bequeathed by John M. Parsons, 1870
John Meeson Parsons (1798-1870), art collector, was born in Newport, Shropshire. He later settled in London, and became a member of the stock exchange. His interest in railways led to his election as an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1839, and he was director or chairman of two railway companies between 1843 and 1848. Much of his time however was spent collecting pictures and works of art. In his will he offered his collection of mostly German and Dutch schools to the National Gallery (which selected only three works) and to the Department of Science and Art at South Kensington, later the Victoria and Albert Museum. The South Kensington Museum acquired ninety-two oil paintings and forty-seven watercolours. A number of engravings were also left to the British Museum.

Historical significance: This painting is characteristic of Adloff's output of landscapes and seascapes with figures. The play of light and reflections on the water is characteristic of his art and reminiscent of such Dutch masters of the 17th century as Jan van Goyen (1596-1656).His highly detailed and refined brushwork is however typical of the post-Romantic imagery still en vogue in the second half of the 19th century. Adloff was sometimes accused of lacking a distinctive style but this is a common trend to most of the landscape painters of the second half of the 19th century.

Descriptive line

Oil on canvas, 'River, with Boats and Shipping', Karl Adloff, 1861

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 1, cat. no. 1.


Oil; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Boats; River; Shipping; Tower




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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