Thomas Ralph Spence (1845-1918)

T. R. Spence (1845-1918) came to attention as a Newcastle artist and architect. He was born in the village of West Gilling, near Richmond (North Yorkshire), where his father was a cabinetmaker and builder. According to family tradition, John Spence (1820-92) would not consent to his son pursuing a career as an artist, and the profession of an architect was settled on instead .

Spence moved to London late in 1885, where he established himself as an "architectural decorator. In addition, he resumed his ambitions as an easel artist, exhibiting English and Continental landscapes, Biblical scenes and larger essays in the manner of Walter Crane and (Sir) Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912). He continued nonetheless to be highly respected as a decorative artist and designer, e.g. as one of the founding members of the Society of Designers (established 1896), contributing stained glass, metalwork.