Thomas Henry (patron of the arts)
Bust of Thomas Henry, by Dantan
2 March 1766|
|Died||7 January 1836
|Known for||painter and patron|
After studies in his hometown, Henry was forced while traveling to take shelter during a storm at Bordeaux, where he settled and became a partner with a merchant who sent him to Saint-Domingue. He returned to France after the Haitian Revolution, and learned the restoration of paintings from fellow artists. He was a pupil of Jean-Baptiste Regnault. He augmented his skill in restoration with expertise learned during travels to Italy, Belgium, and England. This led to his gaining a position as an expert commissioner with the Royal Museums.
The position facilated his amassing a significant personal collection of art. When he felt death approaching he decided to "ignite the flame of art" in his native town by donating his collection and establishing a museum. On the 29 July 1835 the town of Cherbourg inaugurated the Musée Thomas-Henry, with Henry's collection of 163 paintings valued at 120,000 francs.
Today the collection forms the basis of the Musée des beaux-arts Thomas Henry, which has the third most important collection of paintings in Normandy, comprising over 300 paintings, dating principally from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries. The museum is located in Cherbourg-Octeville.
- Charles Blanc, Le Trésor de la curiosité, Paris, Renouard, 1858