Friday, October 12, 2012

"What about the picture in the dining room?"

With the interest that last week's post generated, I thought I would devote this week's to another piece of art visitors to Andalusia sometimes ask us about: the framed picture over the living room/dining room mantle.  Though a bit water-stained, it is a print of the painting "Crossing a Highland Loch," by the nineteenth-century British painter Jacob Thompson.  Finished in 1858, the title of the composition is a bit misleading as it looks more like the travelers depicted are crossing the cow pond at Andalusia rather than a lake in the Scottish highlands.  Though largely forgotten today, Thompson was a popular artist in his day, and his work was much in demand.  Born in 1806 to a family of prosperous Quakers, he decided early on that he wanted to pursue a career as an artist.  Unfortunately, he received no encouragement from his father who believed his son ought to find something more practical to do with his life.  So he was soon apprenticed to a house painter to learn that trade.  In his spare time, however, Thompson continued to cultivate his talent as a landscape painter.   He soon attracted the notice of Lord Lonsdale who introduced the young artist to the painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830).  With this valuable connection Thompson managed to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Art.  He started exhibiting his work in 1824.   From the very beginning of his career until he made his last brush stroke, Thompson cleaved to a rather prosaic, academic style that evinces little artistic growth or maturity.   After living in retirement forty years, Jacob Thompson died on  Dec. 27, 1879. 
- Mark

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