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Oil painting - Trees in a storm
  • Trees in a storm
    Klombeck, Johann Bernard, born 1815 - died 1893
  • Enlarge image

Trees in a storm

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Kleve (painted)

  • Date:

    1845 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Klombeck, Johann Bernard, born 1815 - died 1893 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on panel

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Johann Bernard Klombeck (1815-1893) was born in Kleve, Germany, not far from the Dutch boarder near Nijmegen. The portrait and genre scenes painter Matthais Tinthoff (1794-1881) was his uncle and gave him his first training. In 1834, the great Dutch landscape painter Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862) founded an Academy in Kleve, of which Klombeck and his uncle were the first members. From 1843 to 1856, Klombeck often exhibited at the Salons in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Dresden and Berlin.

This painting is a typical example of Klombeck's Romantic landscape, a genre in which he specialised under the influence of his master B.C. Koekkoek. The ominous tempest in the countryside at the end of the summer and the vastness of Nature compare with the fragility of human conditions are essential characteristics of Klombeck who was particularly interested by the pictorial rendering of the seasons.

Physical description

Landscape with trees being buffeted by strong winds under a stormy sky with figures fighting against the wind.

Place of Origin

Kleve (painted)


1845 (painted)


Klombeck, Johann Bernard, born 1815 - died 1893 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on panel

Marks and inscriptions

'JB. Klombeck ft. 1845'
Signed by the artist, lower right


Height: 38 cm estimate, Width: 46.4 cm estimate, Height: 530 mm gilt frame, Width: 605 mm gilt frame, Depth: 47 mm gilt frame

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868
Ref : Parkinson, Ronald, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860. Victoria & Albert Museum, HMSO, London, 1990. p.xix.

'Chauncy Hare Townshend (1798-1868) was born into a wealthy family, only son of Henry Hare Townsend of Busbridge Hall, Godalming, Surrey. Educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA 1821). Succeeded to the family estates 1827, when he added 'h' to the Townsend name. He had taken holy orders, but while he always referred to himself as 'Rev.' on the title pages of his books, he never practised his vocation... . Very much a dilettante in the eighteenth-century sense, he moved in the highest social and literary circles; a great friend of Charles Dickens (he was the dedicatee of Great Expectations) with whom he shared a fascination of mesmerism... Bulwer Lytton described his life's 'Beau-deal of happiness' as 'elegant rest, travel, lots of money - and he is always ill and melancholy'. Of the many watercolours and British and continental oil paintings he bequeathed to the V&A, the majority are landscapes. He is the first identifiable British collector of early photographs apart from the Prince Consort, particularly landscape photography, and also collected gems and geological specimens.

Historical significance: This characteristic work shows a windy countryside with backturned figures walking against the wind. The trees are buffeted by a strong wind, blowing from the left and the grey sky is pierced by a sunbeam, illuminating the path on which the figures walk. Klombeck was particularly interested in depicting the seasons and this picture may suggest summer's end. Romantic motifs, such as prominent trees and ruins, stormy weather and figures fighting against the elements, played a major role in Klombeck's oeuvre. Here the path and the stream beside it, winding to then disappear into the horizon, and diagonals elements, such as the bending trees, are reminiscent of the work of B.C. Koekkoek.

Historical context note

The word 'Romanticism', derived from the medieval term 'romance', coined by German poets and critics, August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, to label a wider cultural movement spanning the late 18th and mid 19th centuries. Inititially a literary and philosophical movement, by 1800 only it involved the other arts. Romantic artists showed a fascination for nature, which they interpreted as a mirror of the mind. They also investigated human nature and personality, folk culture, national and ethnic origins, the medieval, exotic, remote, mysterious and occult.

Klombeck was born in Cleve, and was a pupil of B. C. Koekkoek. He painted mainly landscapes, which he exhibited at the Academies in Dresden (1851) and Berlin (1856 and '66). He is generally considered as a leading member of the Romantic School and was the foremost representative of the Cleve Academy following the death of his master in 1862.

Descriptive line

Oil Painting, 'Trees in a Storm', Johann Bernard Klombeck, 1845

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

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 56, cat. no. 120.
Nollert, Angelika and Guido de Werd, Johann Bernhard Klombeck, 1815-1893 : ein Landschaftsmaler der Klever Romantik, exh. cat. Städtisches Museum Haus Koekkoek, Kleve, 1993.


Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Clouds; Figures; Landscape; Trees; Storm




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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