Thomas Faed, R.S.A.. R.A.

(8 June 1826 - 17 August 1900)


Third son of James Faed, an engineer and millwright, by Mary McGeoch, his wife, was born at Barlay Mill, Kirkcudbrightshire.

[Gatehouse of Fleet (Scottish Gaelic: Taigh an Rathaid) is a town in the Civil Parish of Girthon, Kirkcudbrightshire, within the District Council Region of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, which has existed since the mid-18th century, although the area has been inhabited since much earlier.[

He studied under Sir William Allan and Thomas Duncan at the Edinburgh School of Design, where he gained many prizes, and for some years assisted his brother John, who was already a painter of repute. He commenced exhibiting at Edinburgh at an early age, and in 1849 was elected an associate of the Scottish Academy.

In 1850 he produced his 'Scott and his Friends at Abbotsford,' which attracted much attention, and was engraved by his brother James. In 1851 he exhibited for the first time at the London Royal Academy, and in the following year removed to the metropolis, where he settled permanently. His reputation was established by his 'The Mitherless Bairn,' exhibited in 1855, and from that time almost to the end of his career he was one of the most popular of British painters.




His subjects were usually pathetic or sentimental incidents in humble Scottish life, and the sincerity and dramatic skill with which he told his story appealed strongly to the public taste. He was also an excellent draughtsman, and his pictures were always solidly and conscientiously painted.

Among the most successful were: 'Home and the Homeless,' 1856; 'The First Break in the Family,' 1857; 'From Dawn to Sunset,' 1861; Baith Faither and Mither,' 1864; 'The Last of the Clan,' 1865; 'Ere Care begins,' 1866; and 'A Wee Bit Fractious,' 1871.

Faed's works have been largely engraved by W. H. Simmons, H. Lemon, S. Cousins, C. W. Sharpe, J. B. Pratt, and others.

His 'Bo Peep' and 'First Letter from the Emigrant' were published by the Royal Association of Fine Arts, Scotland, in 1849 and 1850, and several have appeared in the 'Art Journal.'

He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1861 and a full member in 1864, and was a constant exhibitor until 1892, when failure of his eyesight compelled him to abandon his profession, and in 1893 he was placed on the list of retired academicians. He was elected an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Vienna in 1875.

He died at his house in St. John's Wood, London, on 17 August 1900. His remaining works were sold at Christie's on 16 Feb. 1901. By his wife, Fanny Rantz, Faed left one son. John Francis, who is a marine painter. His elder brothers, John Faed, retired R.S.A., and James Faed the engraver, survive.

[Ottley's Dict. of Painters; Men of the Time; Times, 23 Aug. 1900; Scotsman, 23 Aug. 1900.]



About the image:
Thomas Faed by (George) Herbert Watkins, late 1850s. National Portrait Gallery, London
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