Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Luny, Thomas

1451454Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 34 — Luny, Thomas1893Lionel Henry Cust ‎

LUNY, THOMAS (1759–1837), marine painter, born in London in 1759, appears to have been in the naval service, and is stated to have served as purser under Captain (afterwards Admiral) Tobin. He had a great talent for drawing, and he would seem to have been a pupil of Francis Holman [q. v.] In 1777 and 1778 he sent pictures to the exhibition of the Society of Artists from ‘Mr. Holman's, St. George's, Middlesex,’ in the former year ‘A Sunset, with a View of Westminster from the Surrey side,’ and ‘A distant View of the Island of Madeira and Porto Santo,’ and in the latter year ‘A Storm and Shipwreck.’ In 1780 he exhibited at the Royal Academy ‘A Privateer Cutter,’ and was an occasional exhibitor there up to 1793. In 1802 he sent a painting of ‘The Battle of the Nile.’ It seems probable that Luny served continually on board ship for various periods up to 1810, when he was incapacitated by paralysis. He then settled on a pension at Teignmouth in Devonshire, where, in spite of his paralysis and increasing deformity in his hands from creeping rheumatism, he continued to practise as a painter up to the time of his death. He was a very familiar figure on the shore at Teignmouth, and from the veteran naval officers who made that place their home he received much encouragement and many commissions. He was able to build a house in Teign Street, Teignmouth, which still bears the name of Luny House. He died there on 30 Sept. 1837, and was buried in West Teignmouth churchyard, leaving a fair competence to a favourite niece. Luny had great merits as a marine painter, his drawing of shipping being free and accurate, his colouring harmonious, and his composition easy. The majority of his works are in Devonshire, mostly in private possession at Teignmouth or Exeter. At Canonteign, near Exeter, the seat of Lord Exmouth, there are an important series of paintings by Luny representing the principal events of Lord Exmouth's naval career, including ‘The Siege of Algiers.’ A few of his paintings were engraved, including ‘The Burning of the Spanish Batteries before Gibraltar’ and ‘Admiral Rodney's Action off Cape St. Vincent’ (by J. Fittler). There is a good example of his painting of shipping at the Foundling Hospital in London. In June 1837 a collection of 130 paintings by Luny was exhibited in Bond Street (see Literary Gazette, 24 June 1837).

[Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature, and Art, xviii. 442, with a detailed list of 295 works; ib. xix. 107; Seguier's Dict. of Painters; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists.]

L. C.