Thomas Campbell

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About this artist

Thomas Campbell painted the portraits of John and Eliza Griffin in this group of miniatures of the Griffin family. Nothing is known of the artist’s life before 1832, when he advertised in a Baltimore newspaper as a "painter from Edinburgh."

In 1834 Campbell and Cohn R. Mime (1813-1897) established in Baltimore a lithographic printing firm with Campbell as artist and Mime as printer. They published lithographs after William Hogarth (1697-1764), portraits of leading clergymen, genre subjects for the peddlers’ trade, and frontispiece designs for magazines. Eventually Campbell moved west, first to Cincinnati before settling in Louisville in June 1835. He found immediate success as a portrait painter and miniaturist, painting portraits of notable Ohio Valley families and Louisiana planters who came north for the summer. Within a year of his arrival in Louisville he had arranged for his Baltimore partner to join him, and in 1836 they established T. Campbell & Co., the first lithographic press in the West. They published a variety of commercial items-portraits of statesmen, maps, and music sheets-but their greatest single endeavor was the publication of the Kentucky Stock Book, an undertaking they never completed. Except for a three-year residence in Cincinnati during the early 1840s Campbell remained in Louisville for the rest of his life, often traveling to Frankfort, Lexington, and other towns in Kentucky. His latest attributed works date from 1845.

Edna Talbott Whitley, Kentucky Ante-Bellum Portraiture (Paris, Ky.: National Society of Colonial Dames in America in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1956), pp. 639-40 § Donald R. MacKenzie, "Painters in Ohio, 1788-1860," Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1960, p. 180 § Martin F. Schmidt, "The Artist and the Artisan: Two Men of Early Louisville," Filson Club History Quarterly (Louisville, Ky.) 62, no. 1(1988): 32-51.