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Robert Tonge was the father of The Liverpool School of Pre-Raphaelite landscape painters. He was a close friend of William Davis and William Linsay Windus, both of whom are said to have painted figures in his pictures; in fact it was he who pursuaded Davis to move from his native Ireland and settle in Liverpool. Tonge's great talent had little chance to mature, as he died very young. He exhibited mostly at the Walker Art gallery, Liverpool and only once at the Royal Academy and once at Suffolk Street. His landscapes and coastal views, mainly painted on the Lancashire coast, are remarkable for their sensitive rendering of light. In 1853 Tonge went to Egypt for his health, and he died at Luxor in 1856.
Colonel J. B. Gaskell, Woolton, 1904
H. C. Marillier, The Liverpool School of Painters, John Murray, London 1904, page 219