Thomas Oldham Barlow, Engraver

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Thomas Oldham Barlow, Engraver

Mr. Thomas Oldham Barlow, who has recently been elected an Associate Engraver of the Royal Academy was born at Oldham, Lancashire. He early showed a taste for art, and became a student in the School of Design at Manchester, where he gained the first prize for a design exhibited under the title of "Cullings from Nature." At the Manchester Exhibition he saw a small picture by the late John Phillip, entitled "Courtship," which he earnestly desired to engrave, but was unable to accomplish his wish. Soon after he came to London, and was requested by a gentleman who understood the bent of his genius, to select a picture for engraving. He went to the British Institution, and strangely enough, the first picture he saw was the very one he had wanted to engrave in Manchester. This apparent accident introduced him to the late John Phillip, and during the twenty years which followed up to the time of Mr. Phillip's death, they remained firm and inseparable friends. Mr. Barlow engraved most of Phillip's pictures, and seems nowhere more at home than in the works of his departed comrade. He has just finished an engraving of Phillip's diploma picture, entitled "Prayer in Spain," a fine example of the painter's power of subtle perception. Mr. Barlow has also engraved pictures by Egg, Sant, Topham, Frith, Millais, and other distinguished artists. Our portrait is from a picture by the late John Phillip.

We may here mention that, in conjunction with Mr. O'Neil, Mr. Barlow has undertaken to make a collection for this year's International Exhibition of the works of the late John Phillip and T. Creswlek. It has been our privilege to obtain a peap at these works, and we can assure our readers that there is a great treat in store for them. The idea of hanging together works by these two masters seems in theory inconsistent, but a single glance shows that the idea was well conceived. Each artist holds his own admirably. There has never before been gathered together a collection of the works of two British artists of so remarkable a character, and we feel greatly indebted to Mr. Barlow and Mr. O'Neil for the labour and care which they have bestowed in executing the task. When a lad Phillip ran away from Aberdeen and hid himself on board an old ship bound for London. On being discovered he narrowly escaped a rope's ending from the captain. However, the captain set him to work to paint the figure head, and treated him so well on the voyage to London that young Phillip painted a portrait of his ship, and made him a present of it. About that time (1834) he would wait at the door of the Royal Academy Exhibition until it was open, and would stay so late that he had to be swept out with the dust in the evening. It is very i nteresting to watch the various phases of his hard-working life, the "Wilkie" look of some of his earlier works, the effect of his first visit to Spain, and the glorious rich, full, brilliant style of his later paintings.

The Graphic - April 5, 1873


See also:

The Barlow Family Clockmakers from Oldham

Lineage of Clockmakers of Oldham and Ashton and Thomas Oldham Barlow, Engraver in London, England


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