Friday, 25 January 2013

FAIRY ARTISTS ~ Thomas Bromley Blacklock

 "Red Riding Hood" 1899, by Thomas Bromley Blacklock (1863-1903).
Oil on canvas, 66 x 91.5cm. London Art Market, Sotheby's, 26th August 1997, Lot 1445
 
Although we are continuously drawn towards the familar and much loved images and artists we know, we also like to pay tribute to lesser known talents from the past - and the present. No matter how old we are it remains a great delight to discover something new which becomes a treasured favourite. No one has said it better than John Keats, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever".

Today the internet and the plethora of magazines make thousands of images available to us without having to go to a gallery or a library. We are able to enjoy so much more, but often the paintings are posted or printed without the artist's name or story attached. When we use images we always try (sometimes in vain) to find out who created them and add a link to further information. 

We have a few images saved which have charmed and beguiled us, and never cease the search for their story. The name of Thomas Bromley Blacklock was unknown to us until recently when we were researching some of these images and found them on A Polar Bear's Tale enchanting and informative journal.    Here   We owe her a great debt for two reasons, the beauty which she shares with her readers, and the archive of information she has accumulated on art and artists. Without her we would never have known who painted these images of The Fairies Wood, or The Snow Queen and been able to then identify Little Red Riding Hood as being by the same artist.

The story of Thomas Bromley Blacklock ends tragically, but his spirit must have burned brightly to have been able to paint so vibrantly.

Thomas Bromley Blacklock


Thomas Bromley Blacklock was born in 1863 in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, and tragically died in 1903 at the young age of 40 when this handsome and extremely gifted man drowned himself in The Clyde.

The son of the English teacher at Kirkcudbright Academy, Thomas was trained in painting in Edinburgh, working mainly in pen and ink and later in oils in East Lothian before returning to Kirkcudbright. He was inspired by the local landscapes which feature in much of his work and he captures their haunting beauty perfectly.  At some point he began to include children and fairies in the scenes and some of his later works allude to Galloway folklore. This does not detract from the landscapes but only adds to the enchanting quality. It is easy to imagine that he felt happy in such places and was cheered by the presence of the children and fairies while working alone in solitude. 

His last residence was at Church Place, Kirkcudbright which became well known as something of an artist's community with William Stewart MacGeorge and  E A Hornel also working there.

There is little recorded about Thomas and we know almost nothing of what torment drove him to end his life when he was at the height of his artistic development. Apparently he suffered a severe spinal ailment which is believed to have made his life intolerable. He lies buried in Kirkcudbright Cemetery.

His work was exhibited Royal Academy; Royal Scottish Academy; Aberdeen Artists' Society; Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts; Liverpool.


"In the Fairies Wood", 1903. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72.5cm. London, Sotheby's. Lot 856, 8/83

Probably the picture shown as 'Fisher Girls' at the RSA, 1903, and RGI 1904.
sold at Bonhams Edinburgh 'Scottish Sale' in 2009 for $75,471


Bo Peep

A delightful little oil very much in the style of Hornel and full of dappled light and shade.
A real collector's piece for anyone enthusiastic about Scottish paintings. Acquired from an estate in the United States and sold by James Alder Fine Art.

On the BBC website you can see a slideshow of 17 works by Thomas. Do have a look, they are stunning. His remarkable spirit lives on in his paintings.

Thomas Bromlety Blacklock on the BBC website


Thank you to James Alder Fine Art for some of the information used in this post.

James Alder Fine Art






25 comments:

  1. Hello Minerva:
    How wonderful that you have been able to trace the provenance of this painting and to learn so much of the artist. It is always so intriguing to be able to piece information together and, in the cases of works of Art in particular, it does give a heightened excitement to the painting itself.

    Thomas Blacklock's work is indeed charming, perfect for the illustration of children's books. The figures are enchanting and, surely could represent every child's dream.

    We have very much enjoyed this most informative post!

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    1. Thank you for visiting Jane and Lance, and for the kind comments. Minerva x

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  2. Minerva,
    I love these illustrations, they do indeed glow with colour and light.
    I plan to follow the links later, to learn more.
    this was delightful.
    Brenda

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  3. Thank you for showing these wonderful paintings. Delightful, colorful, enchanting. Such a sad story about Blacklock. I intend to follow your links.

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    1. Thank you Robin! A very sad story, but at least his spirit lives on for future generations. Minerva ~

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  4. Dear Minerva, thank you for your visit today, and lovely comment. One of the many gifts that come from blogging, is the knowledge and beauty we gain from our fellow bloggers....and I being an information junkie, love posts such as this, on Thomas B. Blacklock! I did go back and visit his site in BBC link you gave, his work is so intricate and detailed....perfect for book illustration, thank you for this..N.xo

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    1. Nella, thank you for stopping by here, and always a joy to visit you too. Minerva ~

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  5. I am very familiar with Hornel and have visited his home in Kirkcudbright, which is owned by the NT for Scotland. I also did a post on him last summer, but Thomas Bromley Blacklock is completely new to me. Thank you for the introduction to his charming illustrations.

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    1. Rosemary, How wonderful that you have visited the home of Hornel! We are quite jealous. Will look up your post on him. Minerva ~

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  6. Lovely pictures and a lot of memories. Have a nice weekend.

    Hugs

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    1. Elna, Thank you for stopping by to see us! Minerva ~

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  7. Fascinating stuff! I am familiar with the work of Richard Dadd and was discussing it with Little Sis last night - how the tragedy beyond such fantastical paintings somehow enhanced their presence. Have never head of Thomas Blacklock however so really looking forward to investigating him further. Thanks for the info xxx

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    1. Jane, Really love Richard Dadd! It seems that many wonderful artists suffer from mental anguish. It is unfair that they bring so much joy to us and yet they suffer. Minerva ~

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  8. how wonderful that you share this artist's work and offer a virtual exhibition of his works in your lovely blog.

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  9. This is just plain lovely. Thank you. :)

    I also love that you have this image of me being swift...I fear I do not run like a zephyr...more like a thick small fog. :)

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    1. Jane, Thank you for visiting! I'm sure you are gazelle like! Minerva ~

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  10. So happy fortune introduce me to your blog...many happy hours of reading and admiring here...

    Warmest wishes...it's getting cold again out there

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    1. Welcome and thank you for visiting! Have taken a peek at your blog also. ; ~ )) Minerva ~

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  11. His drawings look enchanting!

    Happy weekend,

    Madelief x

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  12. Thank you for sharing and educating with that tribute to Mr Thomas Bromley Blacklock. Nice to see his illustrations here, I enjoyed seeing them all, a favorite being "In the Fairies Wood" So many great artist seem to be both blessed and cursed, too oft a cross that is hard to bare. They make such a beautiful impression on the world and then tragically perish, leaving the beauty of their art behind to be cherished through the lifetimes of others.
    Be Well
    Willow

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    1. Welcome Willow, and thank you for the kind comments. Agree with your words about those artists who suffer from depression and melancholy, it is very sad, and yet they are remembered with love by all those whose lives they brighten. Have joined your blog too - all the best with it! Minerva ~

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  13. My dear, this post is so immensely charming, sweet and special. I too have always had a fondness for "wee folk", stretching back to my earliest childhood days. I remember a relative telling me that fairies lived in tree trunks when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old, and loved checking every tree I could for fairies when I was small. Even to this day, part of me wants to believe there could be a cute fairy or two living in a tree in my yard.

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Thank you very much for your immensely lovely comment on my vintage outfit post today, dear lady. It's always so touching to know when an ensemble I post becomes a favourite with one of my readers.

    ♥ Jessica

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