Good, Thomas Sword (DNB00)

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GOOD, THOMAS SWORD (1789–1872), painter, was born at Berwick-upon-Tweed, 4 Dec. 1789, the birth-year of David Wilkie. He was brought up as an ordinary house-painter, but in course of time began to execute portraits at a cheap rate. From this he passed to genre painting, and between 1820 and 1834 exhibited at the principal London exhibitions. To the Royal Academy he sent in 1820 'A Scotch Shepherd;' 'in 1821 'Music' and 'A Man with a Hare;' in 1822 (the year in which Wilkie's 'Chelsea Pensioners' was exhibited) 'Two Old Men (still living) who fought at the Battle of Minden,' a charming little picture, now (1890) in the possession of Mr. F. Locker-Lampson. To the same year belongs 'An Old Northumbrian Piper.' In 1823 he exhibited 'Practice' (probably the barber's apprentice shaving a sheep's head, engraved in mezzotint by W. Morrison); 1824, 'Rummaging an Old Wardrobe;' 1825, 'Girl and Boy' and 'Smugglers Resting;' 1826, 'A Study of Figures;' 1827, 'Fishermen;' 1828, 'Interior, with Figures;' 1829, 'Coast Scene, with Fishermen' and 'Idlers;' 1830, 'The Truant' and 'Merry Cottagers;' 1831, 'Medicine:' 1832, 'Coast Scene, with a Fisherman' (now in the National Gallery); and 1833, 'The Industrious Mother.' Besides these, he sent forty-three pictures to the British Institution and two to the Suffolk Street Gallery, making a total of sixty-four works up to 1834. About this date, from some obscure cause, he relinquished his brush, and never resumed it professionally. He died in his house on the Quay Walls of his native town, 15 April 1872. Little is known of his life. He visited London and Wilkie, to whose school he belongs, though his connection with the 'Goldsmith of art' would appear to be rather instinctive than direct.

Besides the picture in the National Gallery mentioned above, there are in the same collection three specimens of Good's work, 'The Newspaper,' which has been more than once reproduced, and two others ('No News' and 'Study of a Boy'), both bequeathed in 1874 by the painter's widow, Mary Evans Good, to whom he had been married in 1839. There are also several examples of Good's art in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, and there is an admirable portrait of the artist's friend, the wood-engraver, Thomas Bewick, in the Museum of the Newcastle Natural History Society. But by far the largest collection of his works is that owned by Mr. J. W. Barnes of Durham, which besides oils, e.g. the above-mentioned 'Smugglers Resting' and 'Merry Cottagers,' water-colours, drawings, and etchings, includes a characteristic portrait of the artist by himself. Good's subjects are simple, ingeniously lighted, and cleanly and dexterously painted. They are generally on panel. In boys, fishermen, and smugglers he excelled, and he sometimes exhibits considerable humour. W. Morrison, who engraved 'Practice,' also engraved 'Music.'

[Communications from Mr. J. W. Barnes; Ward's English Art in the Public Galleries of London, pp. 118-20; Portfolio, 1889, xx. 111-113.]

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