Fairland, Thomas (DNB00)

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FAIRLAND, THOMAS (1804–1852), lithographer and portrait-painter, showed an early taste for drawing, and practised from nature in Kensington Gardens. He subsequently became a student of the Royal Academy under Fuseli, and gained a silver medal for a drawing from the cast of Hercules which stood in the entrance-hall of that institution. Turning his attention to line-engraving he became a pupil of Charles Warren [q. v.], but was more attracted by the new art of lithography, in which he produced some very good works. Among these may be noted ‘The Recruit; or Who'll serve the King?’ ‘The Village Champion,’ and ‘Left Leg Foremost,’ from pictures by R. Farrier, ‘The Poacher's Confederate,’ after Charles Hancock, ‘The Rat-Catcher,’ after A. Cooper, and others of a similar nature, including a set entitled ‘The Sportsman's Exhibition. A Series of Heads of the principal British Sporting Dogs,’ from pictures by Sir E. Landseer, A. Cooper, and C. Hancock. A volume of ‘Comic Sketches,’ after W. Hunt, published in 1844, attained great popularity. His most important work, and one of the best ever executed in lithography, was the cartoon of the Virgin and Child (known as the Rogers Madonna) by Raphael; this was done when the cartoon was in the possession of Messrs. Colnaghi. Other subjects lithographed by him were ‘The Misers,’ after Q. Matsys, ‘Napoleon crossing the Alps,’ after David, ‘Imogene,’ after Westall, and some portraits. Owing to the decline of lithography, due to foreign competition and the vagaries of fashion, Fairland devoted himself to portrait-painting, and enjoyed the patronage of many eminent and illustrious personages, including royalty. He was, however, never able to place himself and his family above the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, and after a prolonged struggle between industry and ill-health he died of consumption in October 1852, in his forty-ninth year. William Fairland, perhaps his brother, also practised as a lithographer, and executed ‘The Culprit Detected,’ after R. Farrier (published 1831), ‘The Lovers' Vigil,’ after Smirke, and others. He also executed anatomical subjects.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers; Ottley's Dict. of Recent and Living Painters; Nagler's Künstler-Lexikon.]

L. C.