Thomas   Musgrave   Joy

(9 July 1812 - 7 April 1866)

Joy was born on 9 July 1812 in Boughton Hall in Boughton Monchelsea where his father was the squire. His parents, Thomas and Susanah, were not keen on his choice of career but he was allowed to leave Kent to study with Samuel Drummond in London. By 1831, he was exhibiting at the Royal Academy. The McManus Galleries in Dundee today exhibit Joy's substantial commissions to paint Grace Darling and her father William, who had become Victorian heroes after rescuing sailors from the distressed Forfarshire paddle steamer. Joy also painted a re-creation of the wreck for his patron Lord Panmure and this is also in the same galleries in Dundee. Panmure was generous with this good-looking artist, encouraging him to visit the continent and paying for John Phillip to become his student briefly in 1836.

Joy married Eliza Rohde Spratt in 1839, and two years later received a Royal Commission that recognised him as an established artist. The newly married couple lived at No. 8 Fitzroy Street in the London parish of St Pancras. He painted the Queen's dogs as well as the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal. These paintings are in the Royal Collection.

Joy was in demand as a portrait painter and he created paintings of General Sir Charles James Napier who had achieved victories in what is now called Pakistan. A large group painting exhibited in 1864 records the most important people at Tattersalls before a race.[4] Joy's habits of overwork are said to have led to a bout of bronchitis that resulted in his death in 1866. In the same year his eighteen-year-old eldest daughter, Mary Eliza, exhibited her first painting at the Royal Academy. Joy died in Pimlico at 32 St Georges Square.

Joy had exhibited regularly throughout his career at the Society of British Artists and at the British Institution. Besides the paintings in Dundee he also has a number in public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum.


[en.Wikimedia; BBC Your Paintings site; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Stanford University; 'Fitzroy Street', Survey of London: volume 21: The parish of St Pancras part 3: Tottenham Court Road;]

THOMAS MUSGRAVE JOY, (1812–1866), painter, born in 1812, at Boughton-Monchelsea, Kent, was the only son of Thomas Joy, a landed proprietor there. He was allowed to indulge an early predilection for art, and was sent to London to study under Samuel Drummond, A.R.A. [q. v.] In 1831, he exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time. In the following year he exhibited at the Society of British Artists, and subsequently up to his death was a frequent contributor to its exhibitions and to the British Institution. He was patronised by Lord Panmure, who placed John Phillip [q. v.] with him as a pupil. In 1841, he was commissioned by the queen to paint portraits of the Prince and Princess of Wales. He was best known for his subject pictures, such as ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,’ ‘A Medical Consultation,’ or ‘Prayer.’ He also painted some successful portraits, notably those of Sir Charles Napier and the Duke of Cambridge. In 1864, he painted a picture of the 'Meeting of the Subscribers to Tattersall's before the Races,' which contained portraits of the most noted patrons of the turf. Joy died of bronchitis on 7 April 1866, aged 63. In 1839, he married Eliza Rohde, daughter of Charles Spratt of Salisbury; he left two daughters.

[Art Journal, 1866, p. 240; Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists; Graves's Dictionary of Artists, 1760–1880. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 30. by Lionel Henry Cust.]

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Chico 1845
Duster Wagtail
Dandy 1843
Albert Edward
Gabbas 1845

View artist's work: Thomas Musgrage Joy (1812–1866) [new window view]