A Happy Ending for Work of Victorian Artist Who Brought Literature to Life
Kelbie, Paul, The Independent (London, England)
An artist whose work brought to life many of English literature's greatest characters and chronicled the social conditions of the Victorian age is to be honoured, 85 years after his death.
A collection of work by Hugh Thomson, whose illustrations gave form to the personalities described in classics such as William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair and Jane Austen's Emma, is to go on permanent display in his home town in Northern Ireland after being rescued from a suitcase where they lay forgotten for 30 years.
Thomson was born in Coleraine in 1860 and became an accomplished painter after his family moved to Kilrea in the south of the Borough. However it was as an illustrator that his talents shone and he was discovered by the prestigious publishing firm, Marcus Ward of Belfast.
Under the tutelage of John Vinycomb, he worked with artists such as Kate Greenaway, J W Carey and Walter Crane before moving to England in 1883. While working for the publishers Macmillan, he earned a reputation as one of the top illustrators of his time, alongside Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac.
Commissioned to illustrate works by Charles Dickens, Thackeray, Jane Austen, Oliver Goldsmith, Austen Dobson, George Eliot and Shakespeare, he was responsible for creating many of the interpretations still associated with a number of legendary literary characters. …