Edward Beyer

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Edward Beyer (1820–1865), was a noted German pastoral and landscape artist of the Antebellum Era (1781–1860) and an artist of the American South and New England. He was born in the Rhineland of Germany, and was a graduate of the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, or the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He first traveled to America in 1848, settling in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He visited Virginia in 1854 and stayed until about 1856 or 1857 sketching and painting a number of scenes that would appear in his "Album of Virginia", after the publication of which he returned to Germany.


In his painting of the Bellevue Plantation, the Roanoke, Virginia, homestead of the Andrew and Maria Lewis family, he depicts eight slaves working in a wheat field. "Working in the dramatic style of the Dusseldorf Academy, which emphasized atmosphere, action and drama..."[1]

In Beyer's painting of Charleston, West Virginia, he was offered a commission for the painting from a number of businessmen in the community. Afterwards, they had a lottery to decide who among them would own the painting. It is currently owned by descendants of the man who won the lottery. "Declared a “painting trifecta” by Antiques Roadshow (U.S. TV series) appraiser Colleene Fesko, the painting of what was then Charleston, Virginia, was created in 1854 and predates the Civil War and West Virginia’s statehood. Fesko said she was so amazed when she saw the piece, that she had to pull out her glasses to fully examine the detail of the panoramic painting... “A bunch of Charleston businessmen wanted it done and chipped in money,” Helen said. Since her grandfather won the painting, it has been passed down in her family ever since... Fesko said Beyer created 40 panoramic landscape paintings of Virginia towns in the mid-19th century."[2]

"Born in the Rhineland of Germany, Edward Beyer became a landscape painter of romantic pastoral views. His style combined lessons learned at the Dusseldorf Academy with Classicism and Romanticism. Some of his canvases were unusual because they had industrial scenes such as railroads crossing the landscape, which meant juxtaposing romanticism with jarring realism. Critics indicate he made these combinations successfully."[3]

List of works[edit]

Red Sulphur Springs
  • Charleston, Virginia (now West Virginia)
  • Natural Bridge (Virginia)
  • Harper's Ferry from Jefferson Rock
  • Rockfish Gap and the Mountain House
  • The high bridge near Farmville
  • The drums. The tapestry Room. Weyers Cave
  • Stribling Springs
  • Burner's White Sulphur Spr. Shenandoah Co.
  • White Sulphur Spring Montgomery
  • View from the Peak of Otter
  • View from the Hawks Nest
  • Little tunnel near Shawsville, Va. & T.R.R.
  • Old Sweet Springs
  • Rockbridge Alum Spring
  • Yellow Sulphur Springs
  • Blue Sulphur Spring
  • Falling Springs
  • View from Gambles Hill
  • Bullard Rock on the New River
  • View's of Weyer's Cave
  • Salt Sulphur Spring
  • Red Sulphur Spring
  • Salt Pond from the Salt Pond Knob
  • Kanawha Fall
  • U.S. Armory in Harpers Ferry
  • Viaduct on Cheat River B & O.R.R.
  • White Sulphur Springs
  • Fauquier White Sulphur Springs
  • Hot Springs
  • Old Point Comfort. Hygeia Hotel
  • View from Little Sewell Mountain
  • James River Canal near the mouth of the North River
  • View of the Peaks of Otter
  • Red Sweet Springs
  • Warm Springs.


  • Beyer, Edward. Album of Virginia: Or, Illustration of the Old Dominion. Richmond, Va: Virginia State Library, 1980. Issued in portfolio consisting of 41 unbound col. plates and pamphlet (vii, 40 p.) ; the plates were originally published separately in 1858; the pamphlet was originally published in 3 v. in 1857-58 under title: Description of the Album of Virginia, or The Old Dominion.
  • Beyer, Edward. The Roanoke City Library and the Roanoke Fine Arts Center Present an Exhibition of the Works of Edward Beyer: Downtown Library Gallery of the Roanoke Fine Arts Center, April 7 Through May 18, 1974. [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified], 1974.
  • Beyer, Edward, Edward Beyer, Holle Schneider-Ricks, and George A. McLean. Edward Beyer's Travels Through America: An Artist's View ; Including Edward Beyer's Cyclorama; Translated by Holle Schneider with an Introduction by George A. McLean, Jr. Roanoke, VA: Historical Society of Western Virginia, 2011.
  • Beyer, Edward. Edward Beyer's Cyclorama malerische Reise nach New York und durch die Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika, zurück nach Hamburg. Dresden: Meinhold, 1860. Microopaque. Louisville, Ky.: Lost Cause Press, 1962. 1 microopaque; 8 x 13 cm. (Travels in the Old South; III, 275).
  • Beyer, Edward, and Edward Beyer. Description of the Album of Virginia: Or, The Old Dominion, Illustrated. Richmond, Va: Enquirer Book and Job Print. Office, 1857. 75 unnumbered pages; 22 cm. Introduction signed: A Virginian. "Thought to be the work of Samuel Mordecai"—Preface, p. vii, Album of Virginia. Virginia State Library, 1980. Various pagings. Originally published as 4 v. in 3, 1857-58: v. 1, 1857, 14 p., 3 l.; v. 2/3, 1858: cover title, 28 p.; no copy of v. 4 as separate seen. Notice p. 27, 5th group signed Edward Beyer, artist, announces the completion of the work.
  • Rau, Woldemar, and Edward Beyer. Staunton, Va. 1857. Bird's-eye view of Staunton, Virginia showing a railroad station and the "American Hotel" in the foreground. 1 print : lithograph, hand-colored ; 44.5 x 73.5 cm. (image with accompanying text). OCLC: 51131735.