Barker, Thomas Jones (DNB00)

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BARKER, THOMAS JONES (1815–1882), painter, born at Bath in 1815, was the eldest son of Thomas Barker [q. v.], the painter of the celebrated picture of ‘The Woodman.’ His early art education he received from his father, but in 1834 he went to Paris, and there became a pupil of Horace Vernet, in whose studio he remained for several years. During his residence in Paris he exhibited frequently at the Salon, commencing in 1835 with ‘The Beauties of the Court of Charles II,’ for which he received a gold medal. On two subsequent occasions gold medals were awarded to him, besides upwards of twenty silver and bronze medals from various provincial towns of France. He painted several pictures for Louis-Philippe, the chief one being ‘The Death of Louis XIV,’ which was destroyed by the mob at the Palais Royal during the revolution of 1848, and in 1840 he painted for the Princess Clementina, the king's youngest daughter, ‘The Bride of Death,’ for which he received the cross of the Legion of Honour. In 1845 he returned to England, and here he became better known as a painter of portraits and military subjects, which gained for him the appellation of the ‘English Horace Vernet.’ He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and many of the most distinguished men of the time sat to him, among them being the Earl of Beaconsfield, then Mr. Disraeli, whose portrait is now in the possession of the queen. On the outbreak of the Franco-German war in 1870, he repaired to the seat of hostilities, and there found many subjects for his pencil, such as ‘The Attack of the Prussian Cuirassiers on the Chasseurs d'Afrique at Vionville,’ ‘The Surrender of Napoleon III at Sedan,’ and ‘A riderless War-horse at the Battle of Sedan,’ painted in 1873. Two of the latest pictures which he exhibited at the Royal Academy were, in 1874, ‘Balaklava: one of the Six Hundred;’ and in 1876 ‘The Return through the Valley of Death,’ representing Lord George Paget bringing out of action the remnant of the 11th hussars and 4th light dragoons after the heroic charge of the light brigade at Balaklava. His military subjects are faithful and impressive records of some of the most memorable events of the Crimean and Franco-German campaigns. He died in London on 27 March 1882.

Besides the pictures already mentioned, the following are among Barker's best-known works: ‘The Meeting of Wellington and Blucher at La Belle Alliance;’ ‘Wellington crossing the Pyrenees;’ ‘Wellington in his Private Cabinet at Apsley House;’ ‘Nelson receiving the Swords of the Spanish Officers on board the San Josef;’ ‘Nelson's Prayer in the Cabin of the Victory;’ ‘Napoleon after the Battle of Bassano, or the Lesson of Humility;’ ‘The Allied Generals before Sevastopol;’ ‘The Capitulation of Kars;’ ‘The Relief of Lucknow’ (painted in 1860); ‘England's Greatest Generals;’ ‘The Morning before the Battle,’ and ‘The Evening after the Battle,’ all of which have been engraved. Varying in character from these are: ‘The Intellect and Valour of England’ (1861), ‘The Noble Army of Martyrs’ (1867), ‘The Secret of England's Greatness,’ and ‘The Death of the Princess Elizabeth at Carisbrooke Castle,’ which have also been engraved. Mention may also be made of his paintings of genre subjects, prominent among which are: ‘Salvator Rosa among the Brigands;’ ‘Preparing for the Start’ (1858), a scene in the Piazza del Popolo at Rome before the race which takes place in the Corso at the conclusion of the carnival, a picture in which the horses are portrayed with much spirit; ‘Sunny Hours at Sunnyside’ (1868); ‘Dean Swift and Stella’ (1869); and ‘A Poacher's Cottage in the Olden Time’ (1871).

[Times, 29 March 1882; Meyer's Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon. 1872, &c., iii. 22; Royal Acad. Exhib. Catals. 1845–76.]

R. E. G.