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Foster, Thomas, 1798-1826
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Foster, Thomas, 1798-1826
Thomas Foster, subject and portrait painter. Foster was born in Birr, County Offaly, the son, it seems likely, of Thomas Parsons, the Earl of Rosse's younger, unmarried brother. He entered the Dublin Society's School in 1811and four years later sent three works to the Hibernian Society of Artists. He continued to exhibit in Ireland and in 1818 went to London, enrolling at the Royal Academy Schools. He exhibited at the British Institution that year and showed at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1819 with 'A Study' and 'Portrait Group of Miss and Master Croker and a favourite Dog'. He was well connected in London, his friends and champions including John Wilson Croker, Thomas Crofton Croker, John Banim, William Maginn, Henry Perronet Briggs and many other literary, cultural and artistic figures. His life ended tragically, however, when he committed suicide in a Piccadilly Hotel on 28 February 1826. Some of his friends attributed his death to his unrequited love from the famous actress Anna Maria Tree, but this remains uncertain.