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Thomas Sunderland (1744-1823)

Thomas Sunderland (1744-1823)

Thomas Sunderland was a prolific amateur artist, best known for his landscapes and for copies after other artists, made in clear, flat watercolour washes.

Thomas Sunderland was born at Whittington Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire on 3 November 1744. He became the owner of an iron ore foundry at Furness and Deputy Lieutenant for Lancashire.

In 1782, Sunderland sold the family home and built ‘Littlecroft’, a house at Ulverston. Two decades later, in 1803, he responded to the
threat of a French invasion by forming the Ulverston Volunteer Light Infantry, and becoming its Lieutenant-Colonel.

Sunderland was a pupil of John Robert Cozens, and possibly of Alexander Cozens and Joseph Farington. The influence of all three artists is very strong in his work. He generally worked in monochrome wash with pen or pencil outlines, while also producing full watercolours. Though he made many copies after works by Old Masters, he also recorded the places that he visited on wide travels across Britain and Europe. In turn, it seems that J R Cozens stayed with him at Littlecroft. He died at home on 3 July 1823.

His work is represented in the Government Art Collection, and numerous public collections, including the British Museum, Tate and the V&A; and Abbott Hall Art Gallery (Kendal) and the Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester).

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