Thomas Danby was the son of Francis Danby, an even more famous artist, who taught him to paint. He was brought up in Paris for several years from 1829 and apparently copied paintings in the Louvre. The influence of Claude on some of his paintings is apparent in this example. Subsequently the family moved to Switzerland and lake scenes are also subjects seen in his work. He returned to England in 1841 and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1843. He lived in Haverstock Hill, Hampstead for a time. He became a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1860 and the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours in 1866 - seeming to concentrate on watercolours from the latter date. Examples of his work are in the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
This picture is entitled "Sir Guyon and the Palmer on the their way to the Fairy Land". Sir Guyon was a character created by the English poet Edmund Spenser. In the poem The Fairie Queen, he is the personification of temperance and self-restraint.
Thomas Danby was twice married, firstly to the daughter of the landlord of the inn at Capel Curig where he used to sketch.
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