(b. 1722, Knutsford, d. 1790, Knutsford)


English painter. He lived and worked in the small market town of Knutsford, within easy reach of the Brooke family of Mere, the Heron family of Daresbury and Moor Hall, and John Smith-Barry of Marbury Hall, all of whom commissioned sporting portraits by him.

Thomas Stringer as a young man showed much natural talent as an animal painter, but his initial employment was as a servant by Peter Legh of Booths Hall, Knutsford, (1724-1804), a member of an ancient Cheshire gentry family who owned several large houses in the area. Stringer's relationship with Legh, however, was difficult, and after an argument, Stringer left his employer to become a full-time artist.

During a relatively short career of some twenty years Stringer was relatively prolific. By the late 20th century, though, he had sunk into considerable obscurity and his oeuvre was scarcely to be identified. Many of his works were confused with those of Francis Sartorius who also worked at times in Cheshire, largely on account of their similar monograms. Recent research, though, has clarified most aspects of his career, and that of members of his family who were also artists. It is now clear that Stringer is a more solid and sophisticated painter than Sartorius, and his works shows an awareness of the work of the great George Stubbs.

Stringer's style is idiosyncratic and his technique is readily recognisable. One of his more endearing and eccentric traits is to paint part of his subject matter disappearing behind another part of the composition. Signature elements of style include the nonchalant crossing of the sitter's legs and inscribed tablets or rocks identifying the sitter and horse.

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