Around the same time I started this website, I was also looking around online for some oil paintings to possibly add to my collection at home. Usually when I look for a painting, I’m most interested in it being an antique, and I usually look for artwork that may tell a story.
I fell across 2 paintings by an artist named Thomas Dudgeon (1804-1880 Scotland). One was titled Loch Lomond & Ben Lomond From Mount Misery, T. DUDGEON 1878″, and the other “Brodick Castle Arran Marine Waterfront 1878”. I was most interested in finding a painting of Scotland and the Highlands. Thomas Dudgeon painted a lot of views of lochs and castles in Scotland and England during his time. His paintings were very bright and colorful, and all of them almost have a “cartoonist” approach without it feeling too elementary. Many of his artworks seem to tell a story, or have figures featured in them going about their daily lives in the 19th century. The painting below sparked my curiosity so I went ahead and purchased it. (after of coarse making sure it wasn’t a fake or reproduction by comparing signatures and talking to the dealer).
When the painting arrived, it was beautiful and the colors very vibrant! The artist sure was a catch in regards to paint collecting. The dealer told me that he had another painting by Dudgeon, and the 2 were originally bought together by the 1st owner in the 1880s and have never been separated. When the first painting arrived, I felt a pit in my stomach when I realized that the other painting was truly it’s sister, and probably never should have been separated. (Do paintings have feelings? Because seriously I felt like they did, either that or it’s 19th century owner was giving me a pretty good guilt trip from the other side if you know what I mean)
After I acquired the second one, I did a little more thorough research into the artist, and was quite shocked at what I found about him! I found most of my information on a blog named “The Artistic Adventures of Thomas Dudgeon” by a woman named Pauline who lives in Australia. I’ve been communicating with her via email about the paintings , and I sent her photos of them so that she could see his work. She created the blog because Dudgeon was her Great Great Grandfather. Thanks to her research, I was able to discover 2 important things about these paintings.
- The 1st painting that I purchased named “LOCH LOMOND & BEN LOMOND From MOUNT MISERY” was painted in extreme close proximity to the house that Thomas Dudgeon was raised in until he was 6 years old.
He very well may have visited this place many times, and it probably was one of his most emotional spots for him to paint. I believe that you can tell this by seeing that painting. It’s HAPPY, quaint, timeless. This was the exact story I was hoping on discovering when I started my research into these paintings.
- Not only was Mr. Dudgeon Amazing at landscape oil painting but he was also a very popular painter for local theaters. Throughout his life he remained employed by local theaters in Glasgow Scotland. One of them being the Theatre Royale in Glasgow.
“It is interesting that many notable British artists began their career as house painters and decorators and at some point they chose the career path they wanted to take whether it be continuing with house painting, or extending their talents to decorating, theatre scene painting, or landscape painting. David Roberts RA (1796-1864) and William Leighton Leitch, (1804-1883), both renowned Scottish artists began their careers as house painters and decorators. Both these artists became scene painters for the Theatre Royal, Queen Street in Glasgow, Roberts in 1819 and Leitch in 1824.” Source: Artistic Adventures of Thomas Dudgeon
He even painted backdrops for Dioramas (moving stories). The first being “The Great Diorama of Ireland” and then the “Royal National Diorama of Scotland”. I found this bit of info important to me as my Great Aunt spent the majority of her life in theatre and created costumes that went with whatever painted scenes they had to tell a story to the audience. Somehow I ended up with 2 paintings where the artist also contributed to the theatre industry! If that’s not fate then I don’t know what is!!
If you’d like to read more about Thomas Dudgeon’s exciting adventures, then I highly recommend checking out Pauline’s site about her Great Great Grandfather. She’s put a lot of heart and soul into her research, and she’s shared with me that she has a lot more information that she’ll be adding this coming year.