“View of the Dardanelles, with the Old Castles on the sites of Sestos and Abydos”

“View of the Dardanelles, with the Old Castles on the sites of Sestos and Abydos”




English School


 “View of the Dardanelles, with the Old Castles on the sites of Sestos and Abydos”

Oil on canvas, inscribed Dardanelles on stretcher on reverse

 30 x 59.8 cms

11¾ x 231/2 inches

Overall framed size 39.3 x 67.9 cms

                                151/2 x 261/2 ins

 Exhibited: British Institution 1837 no. 307 


G E Hering was a landscape artist whose primary source of views to paint was Italy but who also travelled around Greece, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, France and Scotland producing works in an elegant style and often on a small scale. His paintings were keenly collected by those who had travelled through Europe and wanted mementos of their journey.

He was born in London in 1805, the son of a bookbinder, who had come to England from Germany. Initially, the young man found employment in a bank as a clerk but, having decided to pursue a life as an artist, travelled to Munich in 1829 to study there. He had met Lord Erskine, who became his patron, and they went to Switzerland. From there, bearing letters of introduction from Erskine, he continued his artistic instruction in Venice where he remained for two years.

Hering resumed his travelling around Italy and from there, continued around the Adriatic and on into the Levant until he reached Smyrna and Constantinople. He made numerous sketches and drawings as he went, later using them as the basis for a completed picture or working the sketches up into finished paintings. He returned eventually to Venice and it was there that he met the author John Paget (1808-1892). Paget was an English publisher of travel books who had married the Hungarian Baroness Polyxena Wesselenyi Banffy and lived with her on her estate in Transylvania. He later became famous in that part of Europe for his six volume work published in 1839, Hungary and Transylvania: with remarks on their Condition, Social, Political and Economic.

When Paget had to return to Transylvania, Hering went with him together with a man called Sanford and toured through the Carpathian Mountains and their environs. The artist produced numerous illustrations for Paget for inclusion in the latter’s book recording this tour of Hungary and following his eventual return to England, Hering published a companion volume: Sketches on the Danube, in Hungary, and Transilvania in 1838.

This journey was the last significant one that he made and he returned to London, after an absence of seven years in 1836, to work as a landscape painter, living at addresses in Newman St, Charles St, Southampton St off Fitzroy Square and Maida Vale. In the early 1850s he was sending exhibits from Earlswood Common in Surrey, but soon after was back in London just off Portman Square and remained in the capital for the rest of his life apart from occasional trips to Italy. His wife was also a landscape painter and exhibited views of Italy, the Rhine and Scotland at the British Institution and Royal Academy between 1840 and 1858.

 Hering exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy (88 times), British Institution (86 times) and the Royal Society of British Artists (10). He could utilise his preparatory drawings and sketches made during his earlier travels and the paintings, which were frequently selected as prizes by the Art Union, displayed a delicate sensibility for atmosphere and light. He was also sometimes partial to painting his pictures on round canvases. Examples of exhibited paintings include: Ruined aqueduct on the Campagne of Rome; The ruins of Rome from the garden of the palace of the Caesars, Rome; On the coast of Genoa; Temple of Jupiter Olympus, Athens; The Castle of Betsko and the valley of the Waag in Hungary; Chillon, Lake of Geneva; ‘The old Oak Tree,’ Tournabury, Chichester and South Downs in the distance; A sandy road at Redhill, Surrey; Shining after rain – Loch Etive.

In 1841, his painting bearing the simple title Amalfi was purchased by Prince Albert and this work was later engraved by Edward Goodall in 1856 for the Art Journal. In 1848, the Prince, who was a keen collector and supporter of the artist, bought Hering’s A view of Capri which was a gift to Queen Victoria on her birthday 24th May, 1848 and is now in the collection at Osborne House. This painting was also engraved for the Art Journal but by Robert Brandard.

Hering’s painting of Tambourina was engraved by Charles George Lewis and in 1847, he published The Mountains and Lakes in Switzerland, the Tyrol, and Italy comprised of twenty lithographs.

Examples of his work are held in the following museums and institutions: The Fitzwilliam; Victoria and Albert Museum; Royal Collection Trust, Osborne House; Sheffield Museum; Orleans House, Twickenham; Watford Museum; Victoria Art Gallery; Beecroft Art Gallery; Laing Art Gallery; Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum; The Box, Plymouth; Brodrick Castle, National Trust for Scotland; University of Edinburgh.

G E Hering died in London in 1879 and is buried at Highgate Cemetery and subsequent to his death, Christie’s held two sales of his works, the first on 7th May 1880 and the second on 25th April 1881.



The Dictionary of British Landscape Painters - M H Grant

The Dictionary of Victorian Painters – Christopher Wood

The Dictionary of Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914 – Simon Houfe

The Great Sea; A human history of the Mediterranean - David Abulafia



 Abydos, on the north coast of Turkey, has a long history stretching back well into antiquity and possibly owes its original trading importance to the abundance of tuna in the Hellespont. The Iliad makes reference to it as it was an ally of the Trojans and following the fall of Troy, it was occupied by Thracians. It was later destroyed in 512 BC by Darius I during his Scythian campaign and during the second invasion of Greece by Xerxes, the Persian army passed through Abydos when crossing the Hellespont on a pontoon bridge. Although theoretically an ally of Athens, the relationship was far from cordial and when in 411 BC, a Spartan army persuaded Abydos to join them in their fight against Athens, Abydos was itself attacked by the Athenians following the defeat of the Spartan fleet just off the coast of Abydos.

In 387 BC, with the signing of the Peace of Antalcidas, the Corinthian War came to an end. Abydos had remained an ally of Sparta throughout this period but under the terms of the Treaty, the city was annexed to the Persian Empire and came under the jurisdiction of the Hellespontine Phrygia which was a Persian satrapy or province of north-western Anatolia. This state of affairs only lasted until 336 when the Macedonians took the city and after Alexander had passed through Abydos on his return from Troy before heading north, he established a royal mint there.

Following Alexander’s death in 323, instability returned to the region and the city came under attack from the Thracians which was repelled, became part of Seleucid Empire in about 280 then was conquered by Ptolemy III, King of Egypt in 245, remaining part of that empire for a period after which it became amalgamated into the Kingdom of Pergamon up until about 200 BC when it was besieged and subsequently partly destroyed and depopulated by Philip V of Macedonia.

The Seleucids retook the city and strengthened the fortifications in response to their war with the Romans in 191 BC but the former withdrew from there and once again Abydos came under the control of Pergamon. It remained thus until 133 BC when the King of Pergamon, Attalus III, upon his death, bequeathed all of his kingdom and territories to Rome whereupon it was subsumed into the Roman province of Asia. However, at this time, the Abydos controlled gold mines at Astrya were almost completely depleted and the mint had ceased to function.

Its importance now to the Romans, together with Sestos, was as a customs collection point for controlling levies on all those entering the southern entrance to the Sea of Marmara and continued as such up to the 6th century AD when Justinian created Komes Abydou  which was the office responsible for collecting all the duty payable to Abydos. Its importance can be discerned in a third-century Chinese text called the Weilue which makes mention of Abydos, Sestos and Lampsacus as being the “three large capital cities” in the Roman Empire.

Abydos continued to be at the forefront of turmoil in the area and although its function as a collection centre for commercial tariffs, augmented by a new tax on slaves in the early 9th century traded from beyond the city’s immediate environs, it was nevertheless subject to the consequences of the expanding Muslim territories as they pushed against those of Byzantium. It was laid waste by Leo of Tripoli with his Arab army on his campaign to take Constantinople in 904 but it rose again and became important to the nascent Venetian empire who were granted preferential trade rates by Abydos. It became autonomous with its own governor by the onset of the 11th century, controlling the islands in the Sea of Marmara and northern shore of the Hellespont.

Volatility returned though with the Seljuks wresting control, then as a consequence of the Crusades, the Venetians had the upper hand, followed by Crusaders and various satellite states of the Eastern Roman Empire. It was eventually abandoned in the first decade of the 14th century with the fall of Byzantium and the influx of aggressive Turkish tribes in the region. The ruins were plundered for building materials right up until the 19th century so that little now remains of this once thriving city. Its reputation survived though, particularly with classicists and others such as Lord Byron who swam the four mile stretch with its dangerous currents, on 3rd May 1810 as a homage to Leander’s swim across the straits to see his lover Hero. He had tried the feat earlier but achieved it on the second attempt with a companion and so, by completing the swim from Abydos to Sestos, they had swum from Asia to Europe, apparently doing so in an hour and ten minutes.



The first written record of Sestos, which sits on the southern shore of the ancient Thracian Chersonese Peninsula and the northern shore of the Hellespont, is in Homer’s Iliad and like Abydos, was an ally of Troy. In about 600 BC it was colonised by some of the inhabitants of Lesbos and Xerxes’ bridge ended close by the city. 

It briefly fell to the Athenians in 478 and although after a while the Athenian influence diminished, Sestos became affiliated to the Athenian led Delian League and like Abydos, was a part of the Hellespontine. Its importance lay in its coastal situation and so could levy taxes on shipping and all west-bound shipping, non-Athenian grain ships, had to pay 10% of the value of their cargo. It also was a strategic naval base and the Athenians kept a fleet there until Lysander and his Spartans took the city in 404 during the Peloponnese War when they expelled most of the local population.

In subsequent years, control passed through the Athenians again, the Phrygians, the Thracians and then back to the Athenians who retook it in 353, slaughtering all the male inhabitants and enslaving the women and children. In 337 it joined Alexander’s League of Corinth and mostly persisted under Macedonian influence until 196 when it became independent. This self-determination was very brief as it had to surrender to a Roman attack led by Gaius Livius Salinator and at the Treaty of Apamea in 188, Sestos was granted to the Kingdom of Pergamon with which it remained until 133 with the death of Attalus whereupon it was transferred to Rome.

Like Abydos, Sestos had a mint but that was no longer functioning by the mid-3rd century AD. Towards the end of the classical period, Sestos was in decline with its harbour silted up and following the end of the western Roman Empire, it was sacked by the Huns in 447. Emperor Justinian made it a more defensible as a fortified base in the 6th century and it seems that was its primary function from then on until it was attacked by the Ottomans. Its strategic importance dwindled still further by the time of the 13th century when the once common crossing of the Dardanelles had been from Sestos to Abydos, was supplanted by one from Kallipolis to Lampsacus.

It receded from importance and memory although in literature there is an Arabic 11th century work with the title The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes where the place is known as Sasah.



Height 30 cm / 12"
Width 59.8 cm / 23 "
Framed height 39.3 cm / 15 "
Framed width 67.9 cm / 26 "