By THOMAS WEBSTER, R.A. (1800-1886)

Webster's father was a member of the household of George III., and the son displayed sufficient talent for music to justify his appointment as a chorister in the Chapel Royal, St. James's. Music, however, seems to have been but the first expression of his artistic soul, for he developed a strong genius for painting, and at the age of twenty-one became a student at the Royal Academy Schools. Three years later he exhibited at the Royal Academy portraits of Mrs. Robinson and family, a success which he followed up in the year following by gaining the first medal awarded in the school for painting. Thenceforward his success continued without interruption, and his pictures were a regular feature of the Academy exhibitions until 1879. In 1841 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, becoming a full Member in 1846.

His pictures are characterised by a geniality and quiet humour which made them exceedingly popular. He delighted in simple studies of familiar scenes, which he depicted without subtlety and in a manner that is especially pleasing to the English mind. Child life appealed to him very forcibly, and this again enabled him, by his paintings, to endear himself to the public. His " Going to School, or the Truant," and his " Dame's School" are in the National Gallery, while five other paintings from his brush are in the South Kensington Museum.

"The Smile," and its companion work, "The Frown," which is also in the Guildhall Gallery, have enjoyed great popularity with the general public, both in their original form, with those who could view them, and as engravings, with the wider circle of picture lovers.

From the book "Famous Paintings" Volume 2 printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
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Online "Name the Painting"

Thomas Webster
at the Tate Gallery

"A Village Choir" by Thomas Webster
Victoria and Albert Museum

"The Frown"
by Thomas Webster

Famous Paintings in this Series

James Archer
My Great Grandmother

The Meeting


John Brett
From the Dorsetshire Cliffs

Arnesby Brown
The River Bank

Joseph Clark
Mother's Darling

John Constable
The Hay-Wain

Jean Baptiste Camille
The Fisherman's Hut

Jean Baptiste Camille
A Flood

Leonardo Da Vinci
Monna Lisa

Edouard Detaille
The Dream

Henri Fantin-Latour

Thomas Gainsborough
Queen Charlotte

Thomas Gainsborough
The Market Cart

Jean Baptiste Greuze
The Head of a Girl

Jean Baptiste Greuze

James Clark Hook
Home With the Tide

Alfred William Hunt
Windsor Castle

Josef Israels
The Shipwrecked Mariner

B.W. Leader
The Stream in Summer-time

Madame Vigee Le Brun
Portrait of the Artist

Alphonse Legros
A Canal With a Fisherman

Anton Mauve
Watering Horses

J.L.E. Meissonier
The Cavalier

Sir J.E. Millais
Speak! Speak!

Sir J.E. Mallais
My First Sermon

George Morland
The Reckoning

George Morland
The Inside of a Stable

The Immaculate Conception
of the Virgin

Alfred Parsons
When Nature Painted
All Things Gay

Ralph Peacock
The Sisters

Syndics of the
Cloth Merchants' Guild

Guido Reni
"Ecce Homo"

Sir Joshua Reynolds
Portrait of Mrs. Richard Hoare
With Her Infant Son

Briton Riviere
The Temptation
in the Wilderness

Dante Gabriel
Day Dreams

John Singer Sargent
Miss Ellen Terry
as Lady Macbeth

Lady Stanley
(Dorothy Tennant)
His First Offence

Jan Steen
Grace Before Meat

Marcus Stone
On the Road from
Waterloo to Paris

Constant Troyon
Watering Cattle

H.S. Tuke
"All Hands to the Pumps"

King Philip IV. of Spain

S.E. Waller
Sweethearts and Wives

Thomas Webster
The Smile

Famous Paintings Volume 1
Art Gallery

Famous Paintings Volume 2
Art Gallery

Art Appreciation