Thomas Matthew Rooke RWS (1842-1942)

T. M. Rooke, a follower of Edward Coley Burne-Jones, was born in Marylebone, London, the son of an amateur artist. He took evening classes in art until he was able to enter the Royal Academy Schools in 1868. He became a designer for William Morris's company in 1869, where he became the priciple assistant to Burne-Jones, whose disciple he became (Burne-Jones called him 'Little Rooke'). He also was an admirer of Herkomer.

Rooke produced Pre-Raphaelite style paintings clearly very much influenced by Burne-Jones, but with an attention to fine ornamental detail in trees, foliage and drapery. His subjects were generally from the Old Testament or from mythology. Later he was taken by John Ruskin to draw architecture on the continent - a whole group of his drawings of St Marks, Venice were destroyed in a fire - and architectural drawings form much of his later work. However, he continued to help Burne-Jones until the latter's death, keeping a diary of conversations with the master which was published. He was also much involved with the Arts and Crafts Movement, and was a founding member of the Art Workers' Guild in 1884. He became ARWS in 1891, RWS in 1903, and outlived all his contemporaries, sending work to the RWS until age 97, and dying just short of his 100th birthday.

Examples of Rooke's Pre-Raphaelite style include King Ahab's Coveting at the Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth, and The Story of Ruth, buried somewhere in the Tate. The Dancing Girls is in the Ashmolean Museum. Many of his architectural drawings are at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Top of page

Other artists

Home