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Oil painting - Girl Gathering Sticks
  • Girl Gathering Sticks
    Schwer, Georg, born 1827 - died 1877
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Girl Gathering Sticks

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Düsseldorf (painted)

  • Date:

    1860 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Schwer, Georg, born 1827 - died 1877 (painters (artists))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Georg Schwer (1827-1877) was born in Nuremberg but received his first artistic training in London where he came at the age of 13. He subsequently went to Düsseldorf at an unknown date and became a pupil of Carl Ferdinand Sohn (1805-1867) while also taking lessons with Rudolf Jordan (1810-1887). He later made several trips to Italy, France and Germany. He died in Düsseldorf in 1877.

This painting is a fine example of Schwer's output. It was probably made during a study trip to Willingshausen in the Schwalm (central Germany) he undertook in 1860. This painting shows a young girl gathering sticks in a typical German costume and silhouetted against a dark atmospheric landscape, reminiscent of the art of Sohn. This painting is a good example of the late Romanticism imagery developed in Düsseldorf in the second half of the 19th century.

Physical description

A young girl seen in three-quarter profile, in a rustic dress with a shawl on her head, holding a bundle of sticks, a rough sea under a tormy sky in the background.

Place of Origin

Düsseldorf (painted)


1860 (painted)


Schwer, Georg, born 1827 - died 1877 (painters (artists))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'G. Schwer Düsseldorf 1860'
Signed and dated by the artist, lower left


Height: 103 cm estimate, Width: 80.6 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, listed in the 1868 post-mortem register of the contents of his villa in Lausanne (V&A R/F MA/1/T1181) as 'Oil on Canvas. Girls gathering sticks. By G. Schwer. Signed. German. Dated 1860'; bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868.

Historical significance: The museum owns another painting of this period, Travelling dog cart(1610-1869) which also documented the rustic life of the people of the Schwalm. Cahrcteristic of Schwer'art is the high degree of finish and relatively dark palette. This painting and the other one are two rare example of Schwer's oeuvre preserved in the UK.
This work was probably brought by the Rev. Townshend directly from the artist and displayed in his villa in Lausanne where it completed a large collection of 19th-century paintings.

Historical context note

The word Romanticism derived from the medieval term 'romance' and was first used by the German poets and critics August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel to label a wider cultural movement beginning with the late 18th and ending towards the mid 19th century. Romanticism started first in Western Europe as a literary and philosophical movement and only gradually involved the other arts, explicitly around 1800. Romantic artists were fascinated by nature they interpreted as a mirror of the mind. They investigated human nature and personality, the folk culture, the national and ethnic origins, the medieval era, the exotic, the remote, the mysterious and the occult. The interest in the exotic and the non-Western, illustrated in France by such a painter as Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), as well as the medieval revival, witnessed in England by Horace Walpole (1717-1797), are perhaps the most identifiable parts of Romanticism. It is really in the Post-Napoleonic period that this movement gained ascendancy. Its greatest proponents were among others Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) and François-René de Chateaubriant (1768-1848) in France, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) in England, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) and Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) in Germany. In the visual arts, it was largely played out by 1850, but in music it persists for another generation.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Girl Gathering Sticks', Georg Schwer, German school, 1860

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

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900 , London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 96, cat. no. 209.
Börsch-Supan, H. et al., Lexikon der Düsseldorfer Malerschule : 1819-1918, Munich, 1997, vol. 3, p. 261, fig. 343.


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Storm; Sea; Girl; Figures (representations); Genre scene; Sticks




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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