George Johann Scharf was born in Mainburg, Bavaria; the son of a tradesman. He studied under H. Kiermayer and at the Royal Academy in Munich, where he learnt lithography and miniature painting. He travelled through France and the Low Countries, escaping the Antwerp siege in 1814, before joining the British army. He served at Waterloo and made drawings at the Bois de Boulogne encampment. He moved to London in 1816 and later married Elizabeth. Their son, George, was an artist and Director of the National Portrait Gallery. Scharf received commissions for scientific illustrations from Sir R. Owen and Darwin, and recorded the building of London Bridge (1824-31) for the City Corporation. He spent two years in Germany from 1845. He died aged 72.
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