Thomson, David Croal, 1855-1930

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Thomson was a Scottish-born art expert, writer and editor in regular contact with leading artists, particularly when he ran the Goupil Gallery in London and was editor of the Art journal. He was also a partner in the firms of Thos. Agnew & Sons and The French Gallery, as well as Barbizon House which he partnered with his son Lockett Thomson.

From the description of David Croal Thomson papers, 1879-1931. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 78230016

Biographical/Historical Note

David Croal Thomson was born in Edinburgh on October 24, 1855. He studied drawing and painting in Edinburgh, where he also apprenticed as a printseller and artist's colourman (1867), and went on to manage Hill's Picture Gallery and its art publications (1872-1880). He then went to Paris to continue his studies in art.

In London, September 1880, he became the sub-editor of The Year's Art, assisting M. B. Huish until 1885. He also published a number of papers in the Scotsman and wrote its annual articles on the Paris Salon. From 1881-1888 he was the sub-editor of the Art Journal and served as editor from 1892-1902.

During 1885-1897, he served as representative in London to the Paris house of Boussod Valadon & Co. Thomson was the first director of the Goupil Gallery in London. In this capacity, he arranged important exhibitions of the best works of Corot, Daubigny, Diaz and Tryon, of the modern Dutch painters, and of James McNeill Whistler, John Lavery, P. Wilson Steer and the English Impressionists. He also selected and superintended the illustrations to John Skelton's, Mary Stuart, 1893; the Bishop of London's Queen Elizabeth, 1896; Mr. R. R. Holmes's, Queen Victoria, 1897; and John Skelton's, Charles I, 1898.

From 1898 to 1908 Thomson was connected with the London house of Agnew, and a partner in the firm for six years. From 1909 to 1918 he served as a partner in the French Gallery, which mounted exhibitions of the works of Henry Raeburn, William Maris, Joseph Israels, Anton Mauve, Fantin-Latour and Lhermitte. He went on to become the sole proprietor of Barbizon House (1918 to 1924), a semi-private residence that showed examples of the Barbizon School of painters. His son Lockett Thomson joined him as partner in 1924. Thomson examined public and private art collections in Great Britain, France and throughout the continent and visited Canada and the United States several times.

His publications include, Life and Work of Thomas Bewick, 1882; Life and Work of H. K. Browne (“Phiz”), 1884; Barbizon School of Painters, 1890; Corot, 1892; Luke Fildes, R.A., 1895; Fifty Years of Art, 1899; Paris Exhibition, 1900; The Brothers Maris, 1907; Landscapes of Corot, 1911; Matthew Maris: a souvenir, 1918; and the Barbizon House Record (a yearly illustrated publication), from 1919. He also contributed to the Encyclopedia Britannica and other art periodicals.

Thomson married Alice Mary Halton in 1884 and had four sons, Lockett, Herbert, David, and Walter; and five daughters, Evelyne, Irene, Millicent, Marian and Elsie. He died in 1930.

From the guide to the David Croal Thomson papers, 1879-1931, (Getty Research Institute)

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Ady, Julia Mary Cartwright, d. 1924. person
associatedWith Alma-Tadema, Lawrence, Sir, 1836-1912. person
associatedWith Baldry, A. L. (Alfred Lys), 1858-1939. person
associatedWith Barbizon House. corporateBody
associatedWith Barbizon House (London, England) corporateBody
associatedWith Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959. person
associatedWith Bouguereau, William Adolphe, 1825-1905. person
associatedWith Bracquemond, Félix, 1833-1914. person
associatedWith Brangwyn, Frank, 1867-1956. person
associatedWith Brown, Ford Madox, 1821-1893. person
associatedWith Brown, Matthew Taylor. person
associatedWith Burne-Jones, Edward Coley, 1833-1898. person
associatedWith Cameron, David Young, Sir, 1865-1945. person
associatedWith Fildes, Luke, Sir, 1844-1927. person
associatedWith French Gallery (London, England) corporateBody
associatedWith Goupil Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Guthrie, James. person
associatedWith Guthrie, James, b. 1874 person
associatedWith Israëls, Jozef, 1824-1911. person
associatedWith Kingsley, Rose Georgina, 1845- person
associatedWith Lavery, John, 1856-1941. person
associatedWith MacWhirter, John, 1839-1911. person
associatedWith McKenzie, Thomas. person
associatedWith Monkhouse, W. Cosmo (William Cosmo), 1840-1901. person
associatedWith Moore, Henry, 1898-1986. person
correspondedWith Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926. person
associatedWith Poynter, Edward John, Sir, bart., 1836-1919. person
associatedWith Sambourne, Edward Linley, 1844-1910. person
associatedWith Sharp, William, 1855-1905. person
associatedWith Sickert, Walter, 1860-1942. person
associatedWith Skelton, John, Sir, 1831-1897. person
associatedWith Stephens, Frederic George, 1828-1907. person
associatedWith Stevenson, Robert Alan Mowbray, 1847-1900. person
associatedWith Stone, Marcus, 1840-1921. person
associatedWith Stott, Edward, 1859-1918. person
associatedWith Stott, William, of Oldham, 1857-1900. person
associatedWith Swan, John. person
associatedWith Thomas Agnew & Sons corporateBody
associatedWith Thos. Agnew and Sons Ltd. corporateBody
associatedWith Walker, Charles Alvah. person
associatedWith Watts, George Frederick, 1817-1904. person
associatedWith White, Gleeson, 1851-1898. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Art critics
Art dealers
Art critics--England
Painting, British--19th century
Painting, British--20th century
Art patrons


Birth 1855-10-24

Death 1930-01-04





Ark ID: w6qg66zg

SNAC ID: 41264133