Thomas Buchanan Read

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Self-portrait by Read, c. 1860.

Thomas Buchanan Read (March 12, 1822 – May 11, 1872), was an American poet and portrait painter.


Thomas Buchanan Read at age 28

Read was born in Corner Ketch, a hamlet close to Downingtown, in Chester County, Pennsylvania on March 12, 1822.

Beside painting, Read wrote a prose romance, The Pilgrims of the Great St. Bernard, and several books of poetry, including The New Pastoral, The House by the Sea, Sylvia, and A Summer Story. Some of the shorter pieces included in these, e.g., Sheridan's Ride,[1] Drifting, The Angler, The Oath, and The Closing Scene, have great merit. Read was briefly associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His greatest artistic popularity took place in Florence. Among portraits he painted were Abraham Lincoln, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning and William Henry Harrison. Read died from injuries sustained in a carriage accident, which weakened him and led him to contract pneumonia while on shipboard returning to America. He was interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.[2]

Literary works[edit]

The Harp of Erin, Thomas Buchanan Read, 1867
Sheridan's Ride, Thomas Buchanan Read, 1871
  • Poems. 1847
  • The Female Poets of America With Portraits, Biographical Notices, and Specimens of Their Writings. 1849
  • Lays and Ballads 1849
  • Thoraren the Skald. 1850
  • The Stolen Child. 1850
  • Edward A. Brackett's Marble Group of the Shipwrecked Mother and Child. 1852
  • The Pilgrims of the Great St. Bernard. 1853
  • The New Pastoral. 1855
  • The House by the Sea. A Poem. 1855
  • Sylvia, or, The Last Shepherd An Eclogue, and Other Poems. 1857
  • Rural Poems. 1857
  • James L. Claghorn, Esq. 1860
  • Sheridan's Ride. 1864
  • The Descent of the Eagle. 1865
  • The Soldier's Friend. 1865
  • The Eagle and the Vulture. 1866
  • The Poetical Works of Thomas Buchanan Read: Complete in Three Volumes. 1867


  1. ^ "The Poem, "Sheridan's Ride"".
  2. ^ "Thomas Buchanan Read". Laurel Hill Cemetery. Retrieved May 26, 2022.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons – via Wikisource.

External links[edit]