The Government Art Collection recognises its responsibility to artists, colleagues and all our audiences to represent the diversity of the UK and to embed anti-racist and equitable practices throughout our work. We are taking action to address inequality in the Collection and its interpretation.
Thomas Jones Barker was born in Bath, Somerset, the son of painter Thomas Barker of Bath. He was taught by his father, before studying in Paris under Horace Vernet. He remained in Paris, exhibiting at the Salon, and painted works for King Louis Philippe. After returning to London in 1845, he exhibited at the Royal Academy. He was best known for scenes of war and painted records of the Napoleonic Wars, Franco-Prussian War and the Crimean War. Barker’s principle patrons were publishers, who commissioned, toured and reproduced his works. Today, his most celebrated painting is ‘The Secret of England’s Greatness’ (c.1862), showing Victoria presenting a bible to an African man. Barker died in north-west London, just before his 69th birthday.
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