Davidson, Thomas -active(1863–1903)
English painter of whom nothing is known regarding his place or date of birth, or of his early life and training. His earliest records date from 1863, when he began to exhibit works at the Royal Academy and at the Society of British Artists. He continued to contribute works regularly until 1903.
Davidson concentrated on painting in the field most popular with his Victorian audience, that of ‘historical genre’. Many of his earlier works were developed around medieval settings and themes. In the final five years of the 19th century he concentrated on more recent history, devoting himself to episodes from the life of Admiral Lord Nelson.
The painting by Davidson now in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, London, entitled ‘England’s Pride and Glory’ reflects a slight deviation from his characteristic subject matter. The scene is set not in the past but in modern-day Victorian Greenwich at about 1900, and features a young woman and a youth, possibly her son, a naval cadet who is in contemporary dress. Davidson’s admiration for Nelson here takes the form not of a scene from his life but celebrates his posthumous influence, inspiring the country’s new generation.