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The Mitherless Bairn

The Mitherless Bairn by Thomas Faed

Artist: Thomas Faed

Date: c.1855

About the artist: (b. 1826, d.1900). Born to James and Mary Faed of Dumfriesshire, he was one of six children, of which five became accomplished artists. It has been said that Thomas Faed did for Scottish art what Robert Burns did for Scottish song. Faed painted from an early age and produced his first oil painting at just twelve and set the style for his future success. He amassed a great fortune and died leaving a fortune of some £57,000.

About the painting: This painting, which was exhibited at the academy in 1855 was extremely popular. It shows an idealised incident from Faeds own childhood. A small child of eight had imposed upon the family, pretending to be orphaned. He was fed and cared for, but became increasingly insolent and was eventually turned away. It transpired he was not an orphan at all, but the son of two notorious tramps. There is also a smaller version of the work at the National Gallery of Victoria Academy, Melbourne, which is believed to be the original.

Accession Number: 1974.517

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Last Updated: 20/12/2011