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date: 14 October 2019

Fairbairn, Sir Thomaslocked

(b Manchester, Jan 18, 1823; d Bishopstoke, Hants, Aug 12, 1891).
  • Oliver Garnett

Extract

(b Manchester, Jan 18, 1823; d Bishopstoke, Hants, Aug 12, 1891).

English industrialist, patron, collector and exhibition organizer. Having developed the London businesses of his father, William Fairbairn (1789–1874), the pioneer engineer and manufacturer of industrial machinery, he settled in Manchester in the 1850s and began collecting contemporary paintings. He is particularly associated with William Holman Hunt, whose Awakening Conscience (1853; London, Tate) Fairbairn bought from the artist in 1854, although he requested that the woman’s apparently anguished expression be repainted. Hunt was also persuaded to modify The Scapegoat (1854; Port Sunlight, Lady Lever A.G.). In 1864, Fairbairn commissioned Hunt to paint the Children’s Holiday (1864; Torre Abbey, Torbay, Devon), a group portrait of the Fairbairn family taking tea in a landscape setting. In 1873 he negotiated the sale of the Shadow of Death (1870–3; Manchester, C.A.G.) to Thos Agnew & Son’s.

Otherwise Fairbairn preferred landscapes and historical genre scenes in a precise Pre-Raphaelite style, for instance ...

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