Regarded as the Father of Fine Arts in Newcastle, Thomas Miles Richardson had the initiative in 1822 to arrange the first Fine Art Exhibition in the North of England in specially built exhibition rooms added to his home in Brunswick Place, Newcastle. His aim was to display art and encourage the rising middle class to buy and collect pictures. A few years later, the Town Corporation employed John Dobson and Richard Grainger to construct Newcastle's first purpose built art gallery, a classical stone building in Blackett Street - the Northern Academy of Arts. Sadly, the gallery was never a commercial success and, after Richardson's death, other uses were found for the building before its eventual destruction in the 1970's to make way for the Eldon square shopping complex.
Born in Newcastle and educated at St Andrew's Parish School, where his father was Head Master, Thomas went on to spend several unhappy years apprenticed to, and then in business as, a cabinet maker. At the age of 22, he took the chance to succeed his father as Head Master and although poorly paid, he was delighted to leave the world of joinery and, with more leisure time available, indulge in his talent for landscape and marine painting.
Some of his better known works include 'View of Newcastle from Gateshead Fell' (1816), 'A View of the Old Fish Market, Newcastle' (1823) and 'A View of the Side, Newcastle' (1835).