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John Carmichael was born in Newcastle in 1800 and his artistic career began here with an architect for whose plans he provided the figures and often the colour. This early association is reflected in his carefully-observed drawings and the freedom which he attains in finished work.
He is however chiefly known as a marine painter, demonstrating a strong feeling for the elements. His brilliant marine scenes became famous throughout the art world for their flair and skill. This is reflective of the period he spent at sea and then as an apprentice to a shipbuilder.
Carmichael travelled to Holland, Italy and the Baltic, and he recorded the Crimean War for the Illustrated London News. As well as being a highly skilled and talented marine artist, Carmichael painted landscapes and water-colours. On one occasion he completed a series of railway drawings.
Although he lived in London for a time, Carmichael retired to the North when struck by ill-health, and died in 1863 in Scarborough. His work was exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1835 and 1859, as well as at the British Institution and the Society of British Artists. His remaining works were sold at Christie�s just after his death.