Creswick, Thomas (DNB00)

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CRESWICK, THOMAS (1811–1869), landscape-painter, born at Sheffield, Yorkshire, on 5 Feb. 1811, was educated at Hazelwood, near Birmingham, and rapidly developed great talents for drawing. He studied for some time under John Vincent Barber [see Barber, Joseph], and in 1828 removed to London, settling in Edmund Street, St. Pancras, with a view to pursuing his studies further. In that year, though but seventeen years of age, he was successful in gaining admittance for two pictures in the exhibition of the Royal Academy, and for thirty years or so remained a constant and welcome exhibitor, contributing also to the Suffolk Street Gallery and the British Institution. Creswick soon became known as a zealous and careful student of nature. Painting usually in the open air from the objects before him, he continually gained in facility of execution and power of expression, and will always remain a faithful translator of the countless and varied charms of English landscape scenery. In 1836 he removed to Bayswater, and continued to reside in that neighbourhood, in 1837 paying a visit to Ireland, to which are due a series of charming vignette illustrations. In 1842 he exhibited 'The Course of Greta through Brignal Woods,' and was elected an associate of the Royal Academy, in the same year gaining a premium at the British Institution. From this time his art continued to increase in power and vigour until 1847, when he exhibited at the Royal Academy two works, 'England' and 'The London Road a Hundred Years Ago,' which may be said to mark the crowning point of his career. As his powers were limited in their scope, he frequently varied his pictures by introducing figures and cattle, painted by his friends and brother-artists, Ansdell, Bottomley, Cooper, Elmore, Frith, Goodall, and others. He was elected an academician of the Royal Academy in 1851. He was largely employed and eminently successful as a designer of book illustrations, and was a charming if not very powerful etcher, being one of the first members of the Etching Club. As a student of nature, and especially as a painter and delineator of foliage, Creswick is favourably criticised by Ruskin in the chapter 'On the Truth of Vegetation' in 'Modern Painters.' His life was peaceful and uneventful; but his health rapidly declined, his later pictures showing many signs of failing powers. He died at his residence in Linden Grove, Bayswater, on 28 Dec. 1869, and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery. He married Miss Silvester, but left no children. Creswick had but a moderate estimate of his own powers as a painter, and consequently his works always found purchasers, and are treasured among many private collections in England. At the London International Exhibition of 1873, 109 of his paintings were collected together, and a catalogue was compiled and published by T. O. Barlow, R.A. His works also were a conspicuous ornament of the Manchester Exhibition in 1887. There is a landscape by him in the National Gallery, formerly in the Vernon Gallery, and two other landscapes are in the Sheepshanks Collection at the South Kensington Museum.

[Redgrave's Dict. of English Artists; Ottley's Dict, of Recent and Living Painters; Graves's Dict, of Artists, 1760-1880; Sandby's Hist. of the Royal Academy; Chatto and Jackson's Treatise on Wood-engraving; Barlow's Catalogue of the Works of Thomas Creswick, RA. exhibited at the London International Exhibition, 1873; Clement and Button's Artists of the Nineteenth Century; Ruskin's Modern Painters, loc cit.; Hamorton's Etching and Etchers; Art Journal, 1856, p. 141, 1870, p. 63; information from T. O. Barlow, R.A.]

L. C.