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Oil painting - Berwick-on-Tweed
  • Berwick-on-Tweed
    Thomson, John Leslie, born 1851 - died 1929
  • Enlarge image

Berwick-on-Tweed

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (painted)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870-1916 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thomson, John Leslie, born 1851 - died 1929 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Henry Louis Florence

  • Museum number:

    P.67-1917

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Oil painting depicting the coastal town of 'Berwick-on-Tweed' in Northumberland, depicting viaduct bridges and ships across the River Tweed.

Place of Origin

Britain (painted)

Date

ca. 1870-1916 (painted)

Artist/maker

Thomson, John Leslie, born 1851 - died 1929 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'Leslie Thomson'
Signed by the artist

Dimensions

Height: 18 in estimate, Width: 48 in estimate, :

Object history note

Bequeathed by Henry L. Florence, 1916

John Leslie Thomson was an artist known for his landscape and coastal paintings of predominantly British subjects, although he did also paint in Brittany and Normandy. He was born in 1851 in Aberdeen and studied at the Slade School in his youth. He was influenced by the Barbizon school and contemporary critics often likened his work to that of Daubigny. He started exhibiting in London in 1872 and in the following year he had his first painting, On the River, on display at the Royal Academy; he went on to display 56 works at the Royal Academy between 1873 and 1898. From 1895 Thomson exhibited annually with a group of landscape artists, first at the Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly and later at Royal Watercolour Society in Pall-Mall east. This landscape exhibition ran for nineteen years and became what the critic for The Times called a ‘regular January institution.’1 Thomson was a member of the N.E.A.C from 1886 and of the Royal Institution between 1893 and 1909. He was also made a member of the Royal Water Colour Society in 1912. His work won him a medal at the Chicago exhibition and an honourable mention at Paris.2 Thomson married Beatrice Howell of Sydenham in 1904. He died at St Mary Abbots Place, Kensington in February 1929. Examples of his work are held by many public institutions including Glasgow Museums, Laing Art Gallery, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums and Perth and Kinross Council.

In 1895 a critic for The Times favourably described Thomson’s work and his preference for painting ‘the somewhat melancholy and pensive glooms in which his brush delights.’3 Although Thomson did come to be known for painting in explosive colour as well as his works of a more sombre hue, the quiet tones of Berwick-on-Tweed clearly denote this painting as an example of one of Thomson’s ‘melancholy and pensive glooms.’ This painting was possibly exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1887 or 1893 as Thomson exhibited paintings entitled Berwick on Tweed in both of these years. Although Thomson’s artistic career did not experience a meteoric rise, he did achieve steady, increasing recognition for his contribution to landscape art. He was often lauded by contemporary critics who saw ‘charm’ and ‘quality’ in his work.4 Despite such promise it appears that Thomson failed to achieve great popular acclaim, thus leaving those critics lamenting that he had never taken ‘that rank to which he is really entitled.’5

Citations
1. The Times, Thursday, Jan 02, 1908; pg. 9; Issue 38532; col D ‘Art Exhibitions.’
2. The Times, Monday, Feb 25, 1929; pg. 17; Issue 45136; col C
3. The Times, Friday, Oct 25, 1895; pg. 7; Issue 34717; col A ‘The Institute Of Painters In Oil-Colours’
4. The Times, Friday, Oct 27, 1893; pg. 6; Issue 34093; col A ‘The Institute Of Painters In Oil-Colours’
5. The Times, Saturday, Oct 24, 1896; pg. 7; Issue 35030; col A ‘The Institute Of Painters In Oils’

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'Berwick-on-Tweed' by Leslie Thomson. Great Britain, ca. 1870-1916.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Rivers; Ships; Viaduct; Bridges

Categories

Paintings; Scotland

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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