1813 - 1899

Thomas Thurlow was baptised at North Entrance, Saxmundham, Suffolk on 26 December 1813, son of John Thurlow (c1785-1841), builder & stonemason, and his wife Rebecca née Wells (c1788-23 November 1860), who married at Saxmundham on 28 December 1812. According to family tradition, he attended 'Mr. Farrow's School for Young Gentlemen in North Entrance Saxmundham' and although there is no record of a Mr Farrow, there is a schoolmaster by the name of Owen Haxell in Pigot's National Directory for 1830 and he is recalled in a colourful autobiographical memoir by Thomas Thurlow:-
'About this time a School of a better class was opened in the Town by Mr. O. Hassell[sic] to which I was sent...The Boys called him Custards-but he was a good master for all that, and was the same school which was attended by Henry Bright, and Newson Garrett, who built Snape Maltings, was a school friend. As a teenager he would turn his hand to most things, such as wood and plaster carving, polishing stones, and even made a violin, succeeding at the second attempt'.
At the age of 23, Thomas left for London where he was engaged by the London Marble Works, a monument manufacturer in Regent Street and during his spare time he took lessons in oil painting, something he pursued throughout his life. Thurlow returned to Suffolk opening a masonry business in Halesworth and in 1839 settling back at Saxmundham. He married at Saxmundham in 1845, Harriet Havers and in 1851, a 37-year-old sculptor and stone mason, living at East Side, Thoroughfare, Saxmundham with his 27-year-old wife and 3-year-old daughter Ellen Maria. They were still there in 1871 but the address is given as High Street and he remained there until at least 1891. During his lifetime, Thurlow completed many works for local people and various churches, including a memorial to Sir Charles Blois of Cockfield Hall in Yoxford Church, a life-size statue of Samuel Clouting in Kelsale Church, a marble bust of Richard Garrett III in Leiston Church, a bust of the poet George Crabbe in Aldeburgh Church and took a commission from William Long of Hurts Hall, Saxmundham to carve a rose and spray for the entrance to his mansion. As well as paid works, he exhibited widely including his sculptures at the Royal Academy and in August 1850 he exhibited at the Suffolk Fine Arts Association, held in the New Lecture Hall of the Mechanics' Institute in Ipswich, two sculptures 'Cupid Sleeping' and 'Model of Charity' and in 1880 he exhibited from Saxmundham at the Woodbridge Fine Art Exhibition at the New Street Assembly Rooms 'A Statuette in Marble', two 'Bas Reliefs in Marble', 'Bas Relief Portrait in Marble' and two landscape paintings and two paintings 'Heads' and in 1883 had two statuettes and four oil paintings on show 'True to the Church he Came', 'Aldeburgh Looking West' and two entitled 'Head' he also exhibited at the Ipswich Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition in 1868. In 1881 he exhibited from Saxmundham at Ipswich Fine Art Club, ‘Study of a Head’ and in 1883 'Old Pidney in the Look-out' and continued to exhibit until his death. Active in local affairs as Secretary and manager of the Saxmundham Gas Works, an Overseer for the Parish making and collecting the Rates, also the town Surveyor including supervising the building of Gurneys bank in Market Place and in 1847 Thurlow became a Beard Patentee, which gave him licence to use the Daguerre photographic process for the County of Suffolk which he practised for a time and selling sub-licences. He is reported to have given 'Penny Readings' in the Market Hall, reciting from Dickens to packed audiences. Thomas Thurlow died at Saxmundham on 17 October 1899, aged 86 and his wife died on 13 May the following year, aged 76. Some of his paintings are in the Moot Hall, Aldeburgh.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from [no address]
1846 1404 A Bust of the Honourable Clara Vanneck - marble
from 23 Eversholt Street, Oakley Square, Camden Town
1864 935 The Weary Traveller - marble
         1030 Winter - marble
from Saxmundham, Suffolk
1865 972 Shepherd and Dog - sculpture
from 23 Eversholt Street, Oakley Square, Camden Town
1872 1401 Homeless and Friendless - sculpture

Works by This Artist