Thomas Baker, Scene On The River Leam A Mile Or So Above Leamington

Thomas Baker, Scene On The River Leam A Mile Or So Above Leamington

A fine early 19th-century landscape painting depicting a wooded view on the River Leam, near Leamington. The artist, Thomas Baker (1809-1864), hailed from Birmingham but moved to Leamington for its picturesque scenery.

This little painting has quite a story, which we’ve been able to uncover thanks to the ongoing efforts of Robert Mulraine who maintains an online memoranda of the artist’s works. Baker was a fastidious notetaker and kept records of the various landscapes he produced throughout his life. The records are in the form of diaries, which were bequeathed to the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum by Baker’s son, and these in turn form the basis of Robert’s website.

The diaries are a fascinating read and provide insight into the life of a working artist during the 19th-century. For example, entry number 105 relates a “Scene on the River Brathay Westmorland”, which Baker exchanged with a pawnbroker for a watch. On another occasion, he swapped a painting for a gun.

Our painting is entry number 91, which includes a charming sketch and reads:

Scene on the River Leam, a mile or so above Leamington
Size 19in x 13in
April 24th 1836
Sent to Manchester with Nos 55, 78 and 95. July 30th 1836
Returned in December
Sold to Mr. J. White August 1847

Baker often sent paintings to the Art Union in Manchester, which was akin to a syndicated lottery whereby members would pay a subscription. Winning tickets were then selected via a draw and winners could choose a painting from the ones exhibited - up to a set value.

The painting was returned to Baker in December 1836 and in 1847, it was sold to James White, the pawnbroker mentioned earlier. It also appeared at Christie’s in 2001 titled “Swallows over a tranquil River”.

For more information on Thomas Baker, please visit the artist’s directory or www.thomasbakerofleamington.com

Learn more about Thomas Baker in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 25” x 19½” / 64cm x 49cm
Year of creation: 1836
Condition: Overall very presentable. Minor areas of restoration. Frame with light wear.
Artist’s Auction Highlight: £13,604 achieved for 'Leamington Spa and Warwick Castle in the Distance' an auction in 2002.

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