Thomas Tighe, Friend of Patrick Brontë

Lucas Bateman, 1782


This is a cut-out pastel profile portrait of the Rev Thomas Tighe of Ireland. The technique of cutting out and laying coloured pastel profiles on a dark pastel background was practised occasionally by only three eighteenth century artists making this a rare survivor. It is signed in pencil on the obverse and dated ‘L Bateman / Delint 1782’ and inscribed briefly reverse with the sitter’s details.

The Rev. Thomas Tighe became Rector of Drumgooland and Vicar of Drumballyroney in 1778. He was from a wealthy Co. Wicklow family and had been educated at Harrow and St. John’s College, Cambridge. He spent the next 43 years in the parish, until his death on 9th August 1821. He was the educational mentor of the Rev Patrick BRONTE, father of Charlotte, Emily & Anne Bronte. In 1786 Thomas Tighe married Eliza(beth) Beers, sister of William Beers (1860-1829), later of Ballyward Lodge. They had at least two sons, born 1787 and 1788. Elizabeth’s nephew, also William Beers, was born in the Castle in Newcastle in 1798, where his father was a customs official. He later lived in the Brook Cottage from the 1840s until his death on 9th October 1880. Elizabeth Tighe’s nephew (younger brother of William of Newcastle), Rev. James Annesley Beers, became minister of Drumballyroney in 1864.

Thomas was the son of William Tighe, MP for Rosanna in Co. Wicklow and his second wife, Margaret Theaker. He matriculated at St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1771 and later became a fellow at Peterhouse where he gained his MA in 1778. He was appointed Vicar for Drumballyroney and Drumgooland, Co. Down from 1778 until his death. He also served as Chaplain to the Earl of Glandore. In 1786, Tighe married Eliza, daughter of William Beers of Ballygowan. He is perhaps best known as being the mentor to Patrick Brontë, father of the famous Brontë sisters.

Item Ref. 7518