Thomas Bamford was born in Liverpool, England, in 1861. After work in an architectural firm, and attending
night school courses in art, he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1879, and settled in Victoria in 1882.
Following work as a machinist at the Albion Iron Works, he was employed as a draughtsman and
subsequently a timber agent with the provincial government.
Bamford amplified his earlier art training by instruction from Rene Quentin, a French artist who spent some
time in Victoria during the 1880s, and was a charter member of the Island Arts and Crafts Society formed in
1909, serving two terms as its president, 1915-1919 and 1930-1934.
Contributing to almost all the Society’s annual exhibitions between 1910 and 1935, his work, like that of
many of his fellow artists, was closely connected to the English landscape watercolour tradition in subject
matter, medium and style.
He was an inveterate on-the-spot sketcher, and from these drawings he produced a prolific series of finished
watercolours and oils in his studio throughout his life. Although painting to professional standards, he was in
fact the quintessential “gifted amateur”, insomuch as he rarely bothered to sell his many paintings, and was
generous in dispensing them as gifts.
Thomas Bamford died in Victoria in 1941, remembered in his obituary as a “retired government servant and
an accomplished artist.”
Portrait of Thomas Bamford
Royal Museum of British Columbia Archives, C-07535
1861 - 1941
Royal Museum of British Columbia
Past Notable Members