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Pole, Thomas

Date and place of birth:
1753, Philadelphia
Date and place of death:
1822, Bristol
(fl) Early to mid 19th century
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Painted on card/paper
Known materials:
Indian ink


Thomas Pole was a doctor in Bristol and an amateur painter of silhouettes. He is known through a small number of examples, including an obituary silhouette of a Martha Barrett, completed in 1822.

Pole was born in Philadelphia in the mid 18th century and came to England around 1802. He settled in Bristol, where he developed an extensive medical practice. He appears to have been an enthusiastic amateur artist with some skill, particularly for painting. His silhouette work was part of a broad interest which included landscape and architectural painting. As well as the obituary silhouette of Martha Barrett, a small album of silhouettes drawn in ink by Pole has been discovered. He typically signed and dated all his work, adding his age to some.

Pole appears to have been a competent painter. The obituary silhouette is well done, with an accomplished use of thinned pigment on the cap to show transparency. His experience painting landscape and architecture is evidenced by the faithful rendering of a pagoda and church in the background. The inked silhouettes are slightly smaller, some only one inch high, and not particularly skilfully executed.

Additional research about Thomas Pole:

Source: McKechnie (Author of, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860)

Pole, Thomas (McKechnie Section 2)