Commentary from the 1893 Magazine of Art


“Mitherless Bairn” . . . , which first set the London world a-talking, was, like many another of the artist's — like his masterpiece “Worn Out,” “They had been boys together,” “The First Break in the Family,” “His only Pair” and “Baith Faither and Mither” part and parcel of his actual experiences of homely Scotch life. For strange as it may seem to our eye jaded with ultra-naturalism, Thomas Faed was an uncompromising realist, and had only our motto, one watchword — which was also that of the great dramatist, Moliere — "Observe." "I never see a picture or read a poem that impresses me deeply, that I do not notice everywhere the presence of the real," the artist has said, and has added the significant phrase: "So-called imagination is nothing more or less than a superior capacity for observation." This is plain speaking, and the author of "Worn Out" is a man with whom practice and precept are one. "The Mitherless Bairn" struck a note which appealed to the learned and the unlearned. "From Dawn till Sunset" was dubbed by all hands the picture of the year. [272]

Commentary from the 1865 Art-Journal

“One of the earliest pictures exhibited in London by Mr. Faed, in 1851, . . . [was] 'Cottage Piety.' He had already acquired a reputation in his native country, Scotland, where he was then living, when he sent to the Royal Academy this and two other works of a domestic character, one entitled 'The First Step,' the other an illustration of the popular ballad, "Auld Robin Gray." These works gained considerable notice, so much so as to induce tho artist to continue his contributions to our chief metropolitan exhibition, and, in the following year, to take up his abode in London: they were, in fact, the advanced guard, so to speak, of a series of pictures of a somewhat similar description, which have placed the artist in the foremost rank of genre painters.” — 1865 Art-Journal





Dixon, Marion Hepworth. “Thomas Faed, R.A..” Magazine of Art. 16 (December 1892-November 1893): 269-75. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library. Web. 8 September 2013.

“Selected Pictures in the Collection of W. Holdsworth, Esq., Halifa: Words of Comfort.” Art Journal (1855): 200-201. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 31 July 2013.

Treuherz, Julian. “Thomas Faed: The Acceptable Face of Social Realism.” Hard Times: Social Realism in Victorian Art. London: Lund Humphries in Association with Manchester City Art Galleries, 1987.

Virtue Rewarded: Victorian Paintings from the Forbes Magazine Collection. Louiseville, Kentucky: J. B. Speed Art Museum, 1988.

Last modified 10 August 2013