(1860 - 1920)
“He was a man who drew affection at first sight"

Born in Coltrane, Northern Ireland, Thomson married and moved to London in 1884 where he took up employment with Macmillan & Co. on the English Illustrated Magazine.  Thomson worked steadily, producing sketches for many classic literary texts, most famously Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice  (1893) in which he perfectly captured the satire and wit of the book, leading Joseph Gregor (contemporary art journalist) to write “You have revivifed(sic)  the gently humourous Jane and given her a new lease of life”.   In 1891 his drawings were exhibited at the Fine Art Society in a joint exhibition with Kate Greenaway.  In the years leading up to the First World War, Thomson was contracted to Hodder & Stoughton to produce deluxe style gift books.  These gift books were of the same literary genre as his earlier works, by authors such as Shakespeare, Sheridan and Barrie.  His style was generally one of fine line drawings, sometimes enhanced with delicate colour, which encapsulated the nostalgia for a genteel and romantic past.  Barrie once wrote of him “He was a man who drew affection at first sight, so unworldly , so diffident, you smile over him and love him as if he were one of his own delicious pictures.”

He was one of the few Golden Age artists to tackle virtually no fairy tales.  The war brought poor health and financial hardship and in 1920 Thomson succumbed to heart disease.

Please scroll down to see our collection of Hugh Thomson first editions.

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