A military encampment

A military encampment



Swiss School


A military encampment

Oil on canvas laid down on panel, indistinctly signed and dated

36.5 x 50 cms

143/8 x 193/4 inches

Overall framed size 44 x 57.6 cms

                                171/4 x 225/8 ins


Johann Jakob Schalch was an 18th century landscape painter who, when he lived and worked in England, assimilated the tradition of English landscape painting with great facility, often producing works which were somewhat redolent of George Lambert and William Williams.

He was born in Schaffhausen in Switzerland on 23rd January 1723 and undertook his initial training in the studio of Johann Ulrich Schnetzler who was a painter and stucco plasterer. He then moved to Augsburg to study with the noted bird and animal painter Carl Wilhelm de Hamilton and, throughout his twenties, Schalch travelled to France and Germany to further his studies.

In 1750, he married Maria Oechslin in his native town of Schaffhausen and but they moved to London in 1754 where he soon garnered commissions to paint members of the Royal Court. In addition to portraiture, he specialised also in landscapes, military subjects, dead game pieces and animal painting. The associations at Court meant that some of his works are now in the Royal Collection including The White House, Kew and The Gardens at Kew. Frederick, Prince of Wales had acquired the White House in 1730 and in 1731 William Kent was commissioned to remodel it, completing the task in 1735. Augusta, the Dowager Princess created a nine acre botanical garden following Frederick’s death in 1751 and this lives on today as part of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Schalch depicted the development of the gardens and buildings in it (which included several garden temples and were intended to teach her son, the future George III, the principles of architecture) in five views and there is a receipt dated 1759 which details payment of 200 guineas for four of these works.

He exhibited three paintings in 1761 at the Society of Artists, two of which were landscapes with cattle and the third, A view in Richmond Park. He also left three fine views of Abbeys in Yorkshire, each of which were an impressively sized 40 x 50 inches and depicted Rievaulx, 

Roche and Laughton. The Sheffield Museum has in its collection Schaffhausen Falls, Switzerland, a subject also made famous by J M W Turner.

In 1763 he moved to Holland and while there, was commissioned to paint a portrait of the English Ambassador in The Hague and the work, an equestrian painting, depicts Ambassador York on his mount. This fine picture was received with acclaim and as well as advancing his career significantly, is regarded as his masterpiece.

Schalch returned to Switzerland In 1773, possibly because of his failing eyesight which rendered him almost blind near the end of his life. He settled in his home environs of Schaffhausen, living in the countryside known as the Durstgraben, near the Rheinfall, where he remained until his death on 21st August 1789.

Besides the paintings in the Royal Collection and that in Sheffield, other museums which hold examples of his work include: Berlin; Geneva; Herrmannstat; Vienna and the Museum zu Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen which has the largest collection of his paintings and drawings.



The Old English Landscape Painters Vol. 2 – M H Grant

The Dictionary of 18th Century British Painters – Ellis Waterhouse

Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs – E Benezit



Height 36.5 cm / 14 12"
Width 50 cm / 19 "
Framed height 44 cm / 17 12"
Framed width 57.6 cm / 22 "