Thomas Baker called his first diary 'Memoranda of Pictures painted by me.'
Inside the cover of his first diary Thomas has written, on November 19th, 1837.
"My Pictures will be generally found numbered at the back, as the description of each
is here". "Remarks have been added at various times, the destination of each has been inserted
as far as I am acquainted with it".
These online Memoranda have been compiled by Robert Mulraine with the collaboration
of Art Historian James Innes- Mulraine, and designed
by Zachary Innes-Mulraine.
I am also greatly indebted to the late Tessa Sidey Fine Art Curator at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for her enthusiasm and help in my love for the works of Thomas Baker.
Thomas Baker, who was born in Harborne, Birmingham but lived in Leamington Spa, is sometimes known by the
epithet 'Baker of Leamington' and he is one of the very few artists who kept a diary record of his landscapes.
In the year 1829, Thomas Baker at the age of 21 began the first of five diaries which were to become a faithful record of 901 oil paintings produced over 35 years of his life.
These diaries, bequeathed to the Birmingham Art Gallery & Museum by Baker's illegitimate son, Thomas Smith Baker in 1908, are unique in that not only do they record the subject in description but in very many cases include thumb nail size sketches of each painting so clear and accurate that they give a faithful representation of the finished work. Baker numbered each sketch and in many cases those numbers were inscribed by Baker on the back of the canvas/panel or stretcher When a painting turns up at auction today and a number is found on the back of the picture between 1 - 901 that picture will most likely be found in one of the five diaries.
The idea of this website is to publish online Thomas Baker's diaries together with the relevant finished painting where possible for the benefit of art researchers, and owners in the further appreciation of his work.
A section for his watercolours is also included.
I am very grateful for the enormous help received from Victoria Osborne (Fine Art) and Curatorial Team Leader of Birmingham Museums Trust in supplying the diary images.
ALL DIARY IMAGES COPYRIGHT BIRMINGHAM MUSEUMS TRUST
If you own or know of the whereabouts of a painting by Thomas Baker and would like it to be included on this website please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cover painting No. 235 Scene on the Leam 1845
Photo Credit; Private Collection