The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Thomas Benjamin Kennington, 1856-1916

Nationality: British
Date of Birth: 1856
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1916
Place of Death:


Thomas Benjamin Kennington was a London portrait and genre painter. He was the father of the painter, draughtsman, pastellist and sculptor Eric Henri Kennington.


Kennington acted as Honorary Secretary of the New English Art Club from 1886 to 1888, the latter date when JW exhibited with the group. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1888, the year in which JW was forced to resign his Presidency of the Society, and sat on the Committee for Selection and Supervision (#05324). In 1889 Kennington entered the membership of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, becoming its Vice President in 1908. In 1891 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

Kennington specialised in upper class society scenes, particularly involving mothers and children. Between 1880 and 1916 he exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery and New English Art Club, as well as at the Royal Scottish Academy, Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham, Manchester City Art Gallery and Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He also exhibited at the International Exhibitions in Paris and Rome.

In 1889 Kennington was amongst those proposed invitees to a dinner organised by W. C. Symons to congratulate JW on becoming an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Munich, a dinner which was to be held at the Criterion in Piccadilly on 1 May (#00631).


Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; (accessed 2003).