Fairless, Thomas Kerr (DNB00)

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FAIRLESS, THOMAS KERR (1825–1853), landscape-painter, born in 1825 at Hexham, Northumberland, was one of the sons of Joseph Fairless of Hexham, a well-known and popular antiquary, whose name is inseparably connected with the history of Northumbrian antiquities. Young Fairless showed an early predilection for art, which was encouraged by his parents. He was a great student of Bewick's vignette engravings, and for some time worked under Bewick's pupil, Nicholson, a wood-engraver, at Newcastle. Being dissatisfied with his progress he came to London, with the intention of making art his profession, and devoted himself to landscape-painting. His works were executed in a broad and vigorous manner, with a fine idea of colour and exquisite feeling for the beauties of country scenery, gathered during the summer days among the woods and pastures of England. From 1848 to 1851 he was an exhibitor at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and the Suffolk Street Gallery. He had considerable practice as a teacher of drawing and painting. He also painted sea-views and shipping, and intended practising his art in Scotland and on the continent. His constitution was not, however, fitted to bear the strain of hard work, and in August 1851 he returned with shattered health to Hexham, where he died on 14 July 1853, in his twenty-eighth year.

[Art Journal, 1853; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760–1880; Newcastle Daily Journal, April 1873; information from Mr. James L. Fairless.]

L. C.