Thomas Barker was born in Pontypool, South Wales. Both his father and brother were also painters. The family moved to Bath in about 1782 and, as a result, he would become known as Barker of Bath. He was educated by coachbuilder and collector, Charles Spackman. Although not thought to have had any formal artistic training, Barker copied 17th-century paintings in Spackman’s collection and, sponsored by Spackman, spent three years in Italy from 1790. Barker was a pioneer in the art of lithography and his considerable output is mainly paintings of rural life, but also includes religious, historical and contemporary social subjects. Despite earlier success, he died in poverty at Doric House, Bath, a picture gallery he commissioned in 1803.
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