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Scharf, Sir George

SCHARF, SIR GEORGE (1820-1895), British art critic, was born in London on the 16th of December 1820, the son of George Scharf, a Bavarian miniature painter who settled in England in 1816 and died in 1860. He studied in the schools of the Royal Academy. In 1840 he accompanied Sir Charles Fellows to Asia Minor, and in 1843 acted as draughtsman to a government expedition to the same country. After his return he devoted himself with great industry and success to the illustration of books relating to art and antiquity, of which the best known are Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome (1847); Milman's Horace, (1849); Kugler's Handbook of Italian Painting (1851); and Dr Smith's classical dictionaries. He also engaged largely in lecturing and teaching, and took part in the formation of the Greek, Roman and Pompeian courts at the Crystal Palace. He acted as art secretary to the great Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857, and in that year was appointed secretary and director to the newly founded National Portrait Gallery. The remainder of his life was given to the care of that institution. Scharf acquired an unrivalled knowledge of all matters relating to historic portraiture, and was the author of many learned essays on the subject. In 1885, in recognition of his services to the Portrait Gallery, he was made C.B., and on his resignation, early in 1895, K.C.B. and a trustee of the Gallery. He died on the 19th of April of the same year.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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