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Thomas FAED 1826 - 1900

ARSA 1849, ARA 1861, RA 1864

Biography

Born in Gatehouse of Fleet, the younger brother of John Faed, he joined his brother in Edinburgh aged 17 and enrolled at the Trustees’ Academy, where he won the prize in the life class in 1847. In 1849 he exhibited six paintings at the RSA, all selling on the first day and in 1851 he had three paintings hung at the RA. In 1852 Faed settled in London, his first great success being the The Mitherless Bairn, which was shown at the RSA in 1855.

Faed’s carefully composed and finely painted scenes from Scottish life appealed to the Victorian public, and while he played upon their emotions, he never degenerated into pure sentimentalism. Another successful work was The Last of the Clan, which highlighted the decline of the Highland society. He also painted a number of canvases depicting single figures, usually pretty girls in landscapes. These had a great influence on artists like Robert Herdman. Technically, Tom Faed was expert; his handling of oil in interiors, figures, still-life details and landscape and his sense of colour and composition rarely failed him.

He managed to relate his subjects to his public, telling students at London Art School to ‘paint the gutter children of London rather than Helen of Troy, Agamemnon or Achilles.’ He died London two years before his brother’s death, aged 74.