Thomas HART


See the Hart family website for information on this group of artists.

Born at Crowan in Cornwall, Thomas Hart was baptised at the parish church there on 31st January 1830, the son of Thomas and Mary Hart. He therefore could perceivably have been born in 1829. By 1841 the family had moved to Falmouth. There largely self -taught, he began to build up a reputation as an artist and is recorded as such in 1851. By 1854 he was exhibiting his watercolours regularly at the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society and a year later was acting as a judge in the annual Fine Art competitions. The society's reports make frequent reference to his 'effective marine pictures'. As well as painting he also taught art in Falmouth and in 1857 eleven of his pupils are recorded as winning prizes in the schools section of the Polytechnic competitions.

He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Artists in 1856 and was a council member in 1861 and 1862. He was unsuccessful in becoming a member of NWS in three consecutive years from 1862. He exhibited in London including RA from 1865 to 1880. Along with his painting he took an early interest in photography and for a time in the early 1860s he had a photographic studio in Plymouth. This seems to have ended around the time he married Louisa Hallamore at Falmouth in 1862. However he continued his interest in photography, entering photographs at the Polytechnic for several years before becoming a judge in the photographic competition.

In 1868 he had a house built at Polbrean at The Lizard and by 1871 he had moved his family to live there. According to the 1871 census his daughter Marie Louise HART was born there in 1867.

Thomas Hart was father of twelve children, seven of whom became artists themselves, five of these professionally: Horace Percival HART, Herbert Passingham HART, Claude Montague HART, Tracey Douglas Dyke HART, Ruby Irene HART, Marie Louise HART and Sydney Ernest HART.

He continued to live at The Lizard for the rest of his life although he did undertake some tours, possibly to Italy and Norway. He died at The Lizard aged 86 in 1916.


Painter of landscapes and marine subjects in watercolour

works and access

Likenesses of the Artist: Self Portrait of Thomas Hart

Works include: A view of Penolver headland, at the Lizard (1865); Kinance Cove (1866); Cornish Fishing Cove, Morning (1866); Polbrean Rheims Cathedral Steeple Rock at Sunset; Evening off the Lizard; Breeches Buoy, Land's End; St. Michael's Mount from Kenegie Porthallow; Kynance Cove; Seaweed Gatherers at Pentreath; Picnic on the Rocks; Top Cottages (Church Cove, Lizard); Fishing Cove (Mullion) Polperro; Return from Fishing ; Polbrean in the Snow; Figures with lobster pots on the Causeway, St Michaels Mount at Sunset; Shrimping off the Lizard Coastline; St Ives from Porthminster; Trebarwith near Tintagel Cornwall; Figures with lobster pots on the Causeway; Harbourside Properties, The Warren, Polperro

Access to work: BOC Smelteverk, Odda, Norway (Panoramic View of the Mines and Coastline at Cape Cornwall); Penlee House, Penzance; Victoria and Albert Museum (Interior of the cathedral, Orta, Italy)


RCPS 1850s-1865 (Silver Medal 1865)

RA 1872

Grosvenor Gallery; 

Fine Art Gallery, Ipswich September 1889 (drawings and pencil sketches)

Falmouth Art Gallery 1990





Antique Collectors Club (1976) Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists to 1920 H LMallalieu

Charles Thomas (1988) Views and Likenesses, Photographers and their Work in Cornwall and Scilly 1839-1870;

The Cornishman 8 Aug 1889

Falmouth Art Gallery Exhibition catalogue

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p329, col pl St Just United Mines facing p145)

Johnson and Greutzer Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940;

Tovey, David (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume One - Pre-1920, Wilson Books

Wood (1995) Victorian Artists (incorrect dates)