Born October 18, 1823, Newtown, Pennsylvania
Died October 8, 1891
[Thomas Hicks] strives to reproduce the character of a sitter in its highest and truest condition, to become in sympathy with the best phase... and to transcribe it.
A precocious painter of portraits and genre scenes, Thomas Hicks first earned recognition for his "likenesses" as a teenager. Hicks developed his talent by briefly attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the National Academy of Design, and, most importantly, by touring Europe with fellow artists and studying in Paris with conservative painter Thomas Couture. Influenced by Couture, Hicks's mature style was naturalistic and classical. Although Hicks painted lively genre scenes, especially in Europe, he was best known for his portraits, many of which depicted celebrities, including Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Charles Dickens. Perceptively capturing his sitters' personalities, Hicks painted his portraits d'apparat, that is, with props suggesting the interests and achievements of his sitters.