Thomas Walker Bretland was a British 19th Century painter who was born in Nottingham in 1820. His father owned and ran a carriage and coach business, which he joined in 1816 as an apprentice where he excelled. Bretland started sketching at an early age with his sole ambition to train and be an artist.
The artist married Nancy Ingham and supplemented his income on receipt of commissions for horse portraits. His father died in 1840 and Bretland passed the family business into the hands of his brother. This enabled him to concentrate on painting; he had many important patrons including the Dukes of Buccleuch and Montrose, Baron Rothschild, Lord Chesterfield and Lord Middleton.
Nancy passed away in 1843 leaving two daughters. From this point Thomas travelled widely, painting commissions in Ireland, Scotland and extensively across England.
Bretland married again in 1852 to Emma and they had a further five children. They moved to Nottingham where he was influenced by John Ferneley Senior. Many of Bretland’s works were privately commissioned. His work is consistently of a high quality and remains highly collected. His paintings are also held in the Nottingham Art Gallery.