Thomas Faed, Scottish Artist art authentication services research and investigation forensic analysis, authentification, authenticity investigations, authenticating the art of Thomas faed

Thomas Faed Scottish artist  
Gallery Archive & Biography

Thomas Faed - R.A. ARCA. HRSA. (British) 1826-1900


Thomas Faed till I see thee again

Thomas Faed

"Till I see thee again."

An Oil on canvas laid to board.
Executed 1851
Measuring 24 ¾" x 30 ¼" (630 x 768mm approx) res.
Signed bottom left T Faed 1851

With P.Saborin Montreal Canada 1948
By decent to Newson

This fine work was offered on behalf of a North American client.



  Thomas Faed: A British painter in oils and water colour of genre, portraits, interiors and domestic scenes.

Faed is held by many as having done for Scottish Art what Burns did for Scottish song. Pathos being the staple of his success.

  Born 8th June 1826- in Gatehouse-of-Fleet, Kirkcudbright Scotland (Burley Mill,) Brought up the son of a skilled millwright, one of six, older brother to James a mezzotint engraver (qv) and the younger brother of notable Scottish artist, John Faed ( miniaturist) from whom he received great encouragement and his first lessons in his craft.
His first oil picture 'Interior with figures', was painted when he was only 12 years of age and now hangs in the Glasgow Art Gallery.

 At 16 Thomas was sent to take up an apprenticeship as a draper, however his passion for art was too strong and he soon left for Edinburgh to help his brother John with the construction of miniatures for which he is significantly noted.
In 1843, at the age of 17, travelling to Edinburgh, he joined his brother and enrolled at the Trustees Academy, where he won first prize in the life class.
He did not flourish here however and continued his art education under Sir William Allen at the Edinburgh School of Design and most notably Thomas Duncan who took the colour class. Here was a man who was hugely influential on young Thomas's career.

His earliest exhibited work was in fact a watercolour, A scene from the Old English Baron, shown at the RSA when he was only 18.

 By the late 1840's he had successfully illustrated Walter Scott's 'Heart of Midlothian' and achieved the coveted Heyward Gold Medal at Manchester.
In 1847, he exhibited the 'Draught Players' which encouraged him to become a regular exhibitor at every occasion possible.

 By 1849 Faed had exhibited six paintings at the Royal Scottish Academy including 'Scott and his literary friends' and 'Friends at Abbotsfords' ( engraved by James Faed) and was made an Associate of the Academy, with all of his paintings selling on the first day of the exhibition.
At this time the Art journal, in reviewing the current RSA exhibition, paid a marked attention to toms painting, saying of him that he was a ' most promising young artist.'
In 1851 he had a further three works hanging at the Royal Academy.
Here began a long and notable career with a steady stream of exhibits totaling 98 in number between his most productive years of 1851 to 1893.

 1852 saw the ambitious young artist Thomas Faed, settling in London and in 1855 he sent to the Royal Academy his 'Mitherless Bairn,' the first of his pictures of great character illustrating homely rural life which were to bring him public acclaim and into artistic prominence.
It is this piece which is considered by many as his masterpiece and most touching of all his works. (This is now hanging at in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia)

 After his McGeoch relations emigrated to Canada, he decided to paint a series of works with a Canadian background. Thus the trilogy was born, though it took him years to complete.
'First letter from the Immigrants' ( Exhibited at the RSA in 1849)
The Scottish Emmigrants Sunday in the backwoods( ten years on) and
'Oh why have I left my hame?' 27 years later.

 Faed's carefully composed and finely painted rural scenes of Scottish folk and daily life, appealed enormously to the Victorian public and whilst he played upon their emotions with his choice of subject matter, he never seemed to let things degenerate into pure sentimentalism. As an artist, he instead, was a great recorder and reveled in quality of light and capturing the simpleness of the moment.
His works were always noble, but built of a nobleness far away from nobility itself.

 In his lifetime, Tom Faed also painted a number of canvases depicting single figures.
These in the main were usually pretty girls in landscapes and these particular works had great influence upon artist friends such as Robert Herdman with whom he had trained.

 Technically speaking, Thomas Faed was indeed an 'expert' and his handling of oil paint in Interior genre scenes, of figures, landscapes and still-life detail and his adept application to composition and colour rarely, if ever failed him.
Somehow Faed had the uncanny knack of being able to relate his subjects directly to the public perception.

He once told students at the London Art School:
"Paint the gutter children rather than Helen of Troy, Agamemnon or Achillies."

Thomas Faed retired due to increasing blindness in 1893 and died in St Johns Wood, London in the first year of the 20th Century.

Faed's notable works include amongst others;

1856- Home and Homeless
Highland Mary
Evangeline (Longfellows heroine from the poem of the same name) and immensely popularised once engraved by James Faed in 1856, giving him critical acclaim in America.

In the following year came;

1857- The First break in the family.
1859- Sunday in the backwoods.
My Ain Fireside
Coming events cast their shadows before. (his only known pair)
1861- He was made an Associate member of the Royal Academy exhibiting;
From Dawn to Sunset
1862- Kate Nickleby
A flower From Paddy's land
1863- The Irish Orange Girl
The Silken Gown
1864- Our Washing Day - Baith Faither and Mither
1865_ Last of the Clan ( Private collection Hamburg)
1866- Upon his election as an Academician, he sent:
Pot luck and 'Ere Care Begins' ( his diploma work)
1867- The Poor the Poor Mans friend
1868- Worn Out, The Flower of Dunblane and The Cradle.
1869- Homeless and Only herself
1870- The Highland Mother and When the Day is Done.
1871- A Wee Bit Fractious.
1872- God's Acre and Winter.
1873- A Lowland Lassie and A Skye Lassie
1874- Violets and Primroses, The Sailors Wife and Forgiven
1876 Morning and She never Told her Love
1877 Little Cold Tootsies, In time of War and A Runaway horse
1878 Maggie and her Friends

These pictures all proved so popular that commercial engravings made them familiar both in Europe and America.

Thomas Faed, Scottish Artist art authentication services research and investigation forensic analysis, authentification, authenticity investigations, authenticating the art of Thomas faed


"Faed's pleasing children's faces, his bright though patchy colour (rich, thick and treacly) the somewhat studious and elaborate picturesqueness, easy sentimentalism, and allusions which no one can misunderstand,-all these qualities show no signs of falling off, and in the 'Mithereless Bairn,' will exert there usual effect over the passing spectator.
Mr Faed's work generally pleases for the moment but seems to us deficient in the simplicity and thoroughness without which, scenes from common life of the pathetic order cannot maintain a lasting interest.
Meanwhile he pleases and should hence be encouraged to do more justice to the powers.
PALGRAVE'S Essays on Art

Mr Faed, who has, is thoroughly characteristic of that phrase of the British school which is perhaps the most widely popular, and which its public are the most sympathetic……..
It is the translation into painting of a subject suited to a poem. It is illustrative and readable, and in a technical merit of a certain kind, it is in many respects, admirable.
It is rather poetic that artistic, if the distinction explains itself. The conspicuous values are in the telling of the story, rather than the in the pictorial treatment.

Prof. WEIR Official Report of the American Centennial Exhibition of 1876.

"There are painters who observe and see what they see and others who paint what they are instructed to see or what they conceive the masters painted before them.
The first speak with the personal, the intimate note, the second with often the mere parrot voice of artistic convention. That the outout of Thomas Faed belongs to the former category is a matter which hardly needs demonstration."

Marion Hepworth Dickson

She perfectly sums him up in her writings in the Magazine of Art (1893) when she says:

"Mr Faed is a poet who uses a brush instead of a pen…….he is a realist.
Life is not with him a mere desperate struggle for existence. Into the lot of the meanest and poorest there enter compensations, begotten of love and unselfishness and faith.
Mr Faed is one of the most popular of the brigade of London/Scottish artists that include so many distinguished men. Success has not spoiled him, there is a fine sturdy commonsense in all his ways and words as refreshing as the breeze that blows over the moors and mosses of his native Galloway.
Caw pointed out that he was "more concerned with the fact of a thing than with its pictorial significance….yet his work marked an advancing realism, an entire absence of affectation, in both sentiment and method, save his simple and native art from reproaches……..from first to last, his idea of picture making, if less artfully carried out was the same as Wilkies before the latter went to Spain….adopting a more delicate and suave, though still precise manner, early in the 50' he thereafter attained finer colour and richer and more fused tonal effects based upon skilful use of chiaroscuro….these were the qualities which dominated his practice during his prime, and it follows that his most successful pictures are those dealing with indoor incidents."

Biographic by : D Freeman



Thomas Faed's work is held in the following permanent exhibits:

National Gallery of Scotland
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Tate Gallery London
Aberdeen Art Gallery
Broughton Ferry Art Gallery
Dundee Art Gallery
Dumfries Art Gallery
Glasgow Art Gallery
Kirkcaldy Art Gallery
Manchester Art Gallery
Paisley Art Gallery
Salford Art Gallery
Sheffield Art Gallery
St Andrews Art Gallery
Stranraer Art Gallery
Sunderland Art Gallery
Wolverhampton Art Gallery
York Art Gallery
City of Edinburgh Collection
Old Bridge House Museum
Lady Stair Museum
Edinburgh Broughton House
Kirkcudbright Town hall
Cartwright Hall, Bradford
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford
Castle Douglas
Brodie Castle (NTS)
Queens University Belfast
Royal Albert Memorial Museum
Exeter Art Gallery
Royal Holloway College
The Ashmoleum Museum
Guildhall Library
National Gallery of Victoria
Museum of Fine Arts Montreal (Canada)
Vancouver Art Gallery (Canada)
Kamatibagh Museum Baroda (India)
Durban Art Gallery (South Africa)

Kunst Lexicon
Artists Biographical Index
Academy Notes 1876-77-78
Art Journal 1851-61
Essays on art / Palgrave
The Faeds. 1882 Mc Kerrow
Clement and Hutton
Armstrong 81.
DNB suppl.ii
Bryan;Caw 164-6;
DNB Suppl.VolII
Halsby 66-9 167, 241,243,258.
Contemporary Art in Europe / Benjamin
Dictionary of Scottish Artists - McErwin
Dictionary of Scottish Painters 1600-1960- Halsby/Harris
Dictionary of British Watercolour Painters- Malliek
Dictionary of British Artists/ C Wood
Artists of the 19C
Hardie 46-8-57
Irwin 300-303 et passim
Macmillan [SA] 186-212-18,231-243-276-374
McKay 343-6
McKerrow 1982 83-127-152-
Notes and Sketchbooks of Thomas Faed.
Letters of Thomas Faed.
Modern Painters/ Tytler


Thomas Faed, Scottish Artist art authentication services research and investigation forensic analysis, authentification, authenticity investigations, authenticating the art of Thomas faed


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