Lane, Theodore (DNB00)

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LANE, THEODORE (1800–1828), painter, is said to have been born at Isleworth, Middlesex, in 1800, but the statement is not confirmed by the parish register. His father, a native of Worcester, was a drawing-master in straitened circumstances, and he received very little education. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to J. Barrow of Weston Place, St. Pancras, an artist and colourer of prints, who assisted him in his studies. Lane first came into notice as a painter of water-colour portraits and miniatures, and he exhibited works of that class at the Royal Academy in 1819, 1820, and 1826. But his talent was for humorous subjects, and a series of thirty-six designs by him, entitled ‘The Life of an Actor,’ with letterpress by Pierce Egan, was published in 1825. Lane etched some clever prints of sporting and social life, such as ‘Masquerade at the Argyll Rooms,’ ‘Scientific Pursuits, or Hobby Horse Races to the Temple of Fame,’ and ‘A Trip to Ascot Races,’ a series of scenes on the road from Hyde Park Corner to the heath, which he dedicated to the king, 1827. He also illustrated with etchings and woodcuts ‘A Complete Panorama of the Sporting World,’ and Egan's ‘Anecdotes of the Turf,’ 1827. About 1825 Lane took up oil-painting, and, though left-handed, with the help of Alexander Fraser, R.S.A., rapidly attained to great proficiency. In 1827 he sent to the Academy ‘The Christmas Present,’ and to the British Institution ‘An Hour before the Duel.’ In 1828 his ‘Disturbed by the Nightmare’ was exhibited at the Academy, ‘Reading the Fifth Act of the Manuscript’ at the British Institution, and ‘The Enthusiast’ at the Suffolk Street Gallery. These attracted much attention by their humorous treatment and delicate finish, and Lane had apparently a very successful career before him, when his life was terminated by an accident. While waiting for a friend at the horse repository in Gray's Inn Road he by mistake stepped upon a skylight, and, falling on the pavement below, was killed on the spot, 21 May 1828. He was buried in Old St. Pancras church-yard. Lane left a widow and three children, for whose benefit his best-known work, ‘The Enthusiast,’ representing a gouty angler fishing in a tub of water, was engraved by R. Graves; it was subsequently purchased by Mr. Vernon, and engraved by H. Beckwith for the ‘Art Journal,’ 1850; it is now in the National Gallery. His picture entitled ‘Mathematical Abstraction,’ which he left unfinished, was completed by his friend Fraser, and purchased by Lord Northwick; it has been engraved by R. Graves. In 1831 Pierce Egan published ‘The Show Folks,’ illustrated with woodcuts designed by Lane, and accompanied by a memoir of him, which was dedicated to the president of the Royal Academy.

[P. Egan's Show Folks. 1831; Redgrave's Dict. of Artist's; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760-1880; Gent. Mag. 1828, i. 572; Art Journal. 1850.]

F. M. O'D.