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|Artist Details : Thomas Jones Barker|
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Thomas Jones Barker
Along with George Jones. Barker was perhaps the leading exponent of 'Battle' painting in Britain in the mid nineteenth century. his father M. Thomas Barker, a landscape artist was his first teacher but in 1834, he went to Paris to study under Horace Vernet. he stayed in France for several years and received a commission from Louis Philippe to paint The Death of the Grand Monarch. His first military pictures dealt with scenes from early English history but it was between 1853 and 1876 that he produced some of his most striking battle scenes. several pictures took as their theme the Crimean War, and it appears that barker went out to 'the seat of War' to take sketches Upon his return he received several commissions from the Manchester print seller Thomas Agnew and sons, The most important being The Allied generals and their staffs before Sebastopol (now in Private Collection) and general Williams and his officers leaving Kars (National Army Museum) The former was painted from nature and from photographs by Roger Fenton although several officers gave sittings for both pictures. Agnews also commissioned The relief of Lucknow (formerly Glasgow Art gallery) which was based on sketches taken on the spot by a Swedish journalist named Egron Lundgren(1815 - 1875) The latter was sent by Agnews and under the special patronage of the Queen, to accompany Lord Clyde, who afforded Lundgren every possible advantage to complete his work. Upon his return he supplied over 400 sketches and portraits to barker. the final picture illustrated the meeting between Havelock, Clyde and Outram at Lucknow. When the garrison was relieved. Unfortunately, the canvas was badly damaged during the bombing of Glasgow in World war two. although it apparently surfaced at auction in new Zealand in the early 1980's. A smaller version hangs in the national Portrait Gallery, London. Barker returned to the theme of the Crimean war towards the end of his career, with two pictures at the Royal academy in 1874 and 1876 relating to the charge of the light brigade at balaclava. and his 1877 canvas exhibited in the Danish Gallery in Pall mall, the Capture of the Russian Guns at balaclava (school of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering). His visit to the front in 1870 to view the war between France and Prussia inspired him to exhibit two scenes at the Royal Academy, one of which riderless war horses after the battle of Sedan (Southampton Art gallery) painted from a sketch made on the spot. September 3rd 1871, he also painted the surrender of Napoleon III at sedan (Southampton Art gallery) Another popular subject with the artist was the Napoleonic wars particularly the Peninsula campaign, napoleon at Bassano, and Waterloo including the meeting of Blucher and Wellington at La belle alliance, the portrait of the Duke being a transcription of Sir Thomas Lawrence's picture, while his horse Copenhagen was copied from a picture by James Ward. Blucher was similarly inspired by a portrait owned by the Princess Wilhelm of Prussia. the landscapes and building were painted from sketches made on the spot. One of Barkers students was Henry Alken (1785 - 1851) Painter of numerous military scenes.
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