Timeline

1820

George Scharf is born on 16 December 1820.
Click to see the Scharf's certificate of baptism, 1821 (NPG7/3/6/8 © National Portrait Gallery, London).

London population is 1,378,000.


1831

Scharf makes his first sketches.

Charles Darwin embarks on his historic journey aboard the HMS Beagle.
Click to see a letter from Charles Darwin to George Johan Scharf, undated (NPG7/3/7/2/2/6 © National Portrait Gallery, London).


1838

Scharf enrols for the Royal Academy Schools.


1840

Scharf accompanies Sir Charles Fellows on his expedition to Asia Minor.
Click to see Scharf's watercolour of camels at Smyrna, February 1840 (NPG7/3/4/1/4 © National Portrait Gallery, London)

Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. 


1843

Scharf accompanies Sir Charles Fellows on a second trip to Asia Minor.


1848

Scharf is nominated 'special constable' responsible for preservation of public peace in the British Museum. 
Click to see Scharf's nomination for the post of Special Constable, 1848 (NPG7/3/6/8 © National Portrait Gallery, London).

Scharf witnesses "Monster Rally" of Chartists held on Kennington Common in London.
Click to see Scharf's diary entry recording the Chartists rally in Kennington, 10 April 1882 (NPG7/3/1/39 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1850-1851

Scharf identifies a fragment of Parthenon frieze at Marbury Hall and visits the Great Exhibition.
The Great Exhibition opens in May 1851.


1854

The Great Exhibition Building - Crystal Palace - is moved and re-erected in an enlarged form at Sydenham in south London
(Scharf helps with setting up the Greek and Roman displays.)
Click to see a programme of the opening of Cystal Palace, 1854. Page 1. Page 2. (NPG7/2/1/7 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1857

Scharf acts as an 'Art Secretary' to the Art Treasures  Exhibition in Manchester and is appointed Secretary to the newly founded National Portrait Gallery.
Click here to see Scharf's admission ticket (NPG7/2/2/3 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1866-1868

Scharf helps to organize the National Portrait Exhibitions in South Kensington Museums.

Benjamin Disraeli becomes Prime Minister.
Click here to see Scharf's diary entry recording Disraeli's oratory skills, 5 February 1875 (NPG7/3/1/32 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1870

Scharf moves to 8 Ashley Place and National Portrait Gallery moves to South Kensington.

Click to see Scharf's sketches of the view from 8 Ashley Place, 1884 (NPG7/3/4/2/123 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1878

Scharf participates in experiments with the telephone at the Royal Society.
Click to see Scharf's diary entry, recording experiments with the telephone, 1 May 1878 (NPG7/3/1/35)

Cleopatra’s Needle erected at Victoria Embankment.
Click to see Scharf's sketch of Cleopatra's Needle, 1878 (NPG7/3/4/2/112 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1888-1890

Scharf helps to organize Stuart and Tudor exhibitions at the New Gallery, Regent Street. Funds for the new National Portrait Gallery building donated by W.H. Alexander.

Workers strike and form first trade unions in London.
Click to see Scharf's diary entry, recording a 'Labour' demonstration, 1 May 1890  (NPG7/3/1/47 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1892

Scharf’s services to the Gallery extended, his health deteriorates.

Death and funeral of Lord Alfred Tennyson.
Click to see Scharf's diary entry, recording the funeral of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 12 Oct 1892 (NPG7/3/1/49 © National Portrait Gallery, London)


1895

Scharf dies on 19 April 1895 and is buried at the Brompton Cemetery.
London population reaches 6,000,000.