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Lorenzo de' Medici

Thomas Brooks – Relenting
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Thomas Brooks


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Artist Biography

Thomas Brooks (1818-1891) was born in Hull, and studied in London for six months in 1838 at Sass’s art school in Bloomsbury and for a year at the Royal Academy Schools. After working or five years as a portrait painter in Hull, the success of two of his genre paintings at the Royal Academy in 1843 and 1845 encouraged him to return to work in London. He exhibited regularly at the Academy, the British Institution and Suffolk Street, and engravings of his paintings were very popular with the Victorian public. Brooks’ genre paintings formed part of the English nineteenth-century school of anecdotal or ‘subject’ painting, established by Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841). They were painted in a realistic style, with dramatic lighting effects, but the main appeal of the pictures was in the stories they told, ranging from apocryphal events in the lives of the poets to scenes of fortitude in the face of illness and death. From 1860 he also painted dramas at sea, set on his native Yorkshire coast, sometimes telling his story in two episodes, for example ‘Launching the Lifeboat’ exhibited in 1868 was followed a year later by ‘Saved from the Wreck’, with the same boat bringing back the victims of the storm.

‘Relenting’ was painted in 1855. The landlord has come to evict his tenants and seize their property for non-payment of rent (as in Wilkie’s ‘Distraining for Rent’ and Brooks’ later painting, ‘Early Struggles’). His agent is making an inventory of their few possessions; some have already been pawned as can be seen from the empty watch stand on the window ledge. The anxious young widow, often a symbol of innocent suffering in Victorian subject painting, is working as a seamstress to support herself and her family, and urges the landlord to consider her baby while two other children, rocking the cradle and clinging to her waist, reinforce her appeal. Her soldier husband has given his life for his country, his portrait and sword hang on the wall together with a black-edged letter. The eldest daughter, resembling her handsome father, sits pale and ailing, adding to the pathos. Faced with all this, the landlord is about to relent, a hopeful ending which belies the harsh reality of life for the Victorian poor.

Paper / Board

255gsm Art Paper

Our standard prints are reproduced on a premium semi matt finish paper. Its micro-porous resin coating provides exceptional colour accuracy and stability

315gsm Museum Quality Watercolour Art Board, Acid Free

Our watercolour board has a natural white finish with a slightly structured, soft-textured surface equivalent to a traditional etching fine art paper. The surface has a special matte coating, designed for high quality fine art reproduction with giclée technology. It is an archival quality paper with great colour accuracy.

Postage & Packaging

Standard Delivery

Standard Delivery items are usually dispatched within 2 working days of the order being placed. We aim to deliver within:

3-5 working days for UK
4-7 working days for Europe
7-10 working days for USA, Canada, Fast East, Australasia and the rest of the world.

Delivery Prices

Standard UK delivery from £3.50
Europe & the rest of the world from £8.00
All prints will be tissue wrapped, bubble wrapped and packed into robust cardboard tubes.

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