WALMSLEY, THOMAS

(b. 1763, d. 1806)

Landscape Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Was son of Thomas Walmsley, an officer in the 18th Dragoons, belonging to a family at Rochdale, Lancashire, and was born in Ireland in 1763 when his father was quartered there with his regiment. He quarrelled with his family and, going to London, placed himself under Columba, the principal scene-painter to the Opera House. Returning to Dublin he was employed as a scene-painter at the Crow Street theatre on its re-opening by Richard Daly in 1788. About two years later he left Dublin and resided for the rest of his life in England, practising as a landscape painter both in oil and water-colour. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1790 to 1796, mostly views in Wales. He occasionally re-visited Ireland and painted there a number of views, many of which were engraved. At the Royal Academy in 1796 he exhibited three Irish views: "Ross Castle, Killarney"; "Ardtully Bridge," and "View of the Eagle's Nest, Killarney."

In 1795 he commenced the publication of a series of aquatint "Views of Killarney." They were issued in numbers at twelve shillings each plain, and twenty-four shillings coloured, each number containing four prints. The plates were engraved by F. Jukes and others. Other miscellaneous Irish views after his drawings were published, some after his death. He also issued a set of "Views on the River Dee," and "Picturesque Views in Wales," between 1792 and 1794. "Views in North Wales," of a larger size, appeared in 1800, and others were: twelve "Select Views in the Isle of Wight," "Views in Bohemia" and "Views in Scotland." In his latter days he fell into ill-health and retired to Bath, where he died in 1806. Redgrave says that his works, painted chiefly in body-colour, "were remarkable for the great luminousness of his skies." In a "grangerized" edition of Edwards' "Anecdotes of Painters," in the British Museum, is a MS. note: "I have seen landscapes by this artist handled in a broad and decided manner, but the tone of colour is by no means good."

In the Victoria and Albert Museum are two drawings in body-colour by Walmsley, and three similar drawings are in the British Museum.

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