Thomas has left a rich legacy behind him in the sculptural works which he carved. In each one, can be seen his gift to us in terms of his time so generously given and the delicacy, sensitivity and skill with which he has given the subject matter. He loved Spring and the hope that this season brought for the year ahead, with the flowers beginning to blossom and leaves appearing on the trees.
He was a quiet man, sensitive and conscientious, but with a mischievous sense of humour. He was too, someone who was conscientious in his responsibilities and cared for those less fortunate than himself. This was admirably demonstrated by his involvement with and serving on the Council of the Artists General Benevolent Institute for over 20 years.
Among his contemporaries at the time was Fred Roe, the artist who drew character sketches of his friends and colleagues; one of his subjects was Thomas Mewburn Crook. This was done during a committee meeting of the Annual General Benevolent Institute in 1923. The portrait is held by the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Though much of his work was spoken highly of in various newscuttings of
“ ..A Journal and Guardian representative…was shown more photographs of Mr Crook’s work, including life-size figures in marble and bronze of exceptionally fine workmanship…”
His home town of Bolton has never recognised their home grown artist. An open letter, on this matter was written to a Boltonpaper in 1948 which reads as follows:
“Sir, If the Bolton rate payers desire to have really fine art in sculpture I beg to submit to them two reproductions of heads in that class.They are the work of Mr Thomas Mewburn Crook, Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, for many years a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy. He is a Boltonian and lived in St Mark’s St., Bolton. His present address is; Gainsborough Rd., Bedford Park, W4…”
However, perhaps Thomas’ greatest disappointment was that though he had many works exhibited at the Royal Academy and other places over the years, he was never successful at becoming a Royal Academician. He was nominated as a Member for the Royal Academy on no less than 14 different occasions. The first nomination was in 1917, with the last one in 1933. He was supported in his nominations by William Goscombe John, Frederick William Pomeroy, William Hamo Thornycroft, David Murray, George James Frampton, Francis Derwent Wood, Charles Leonard Hartwell, Alfred Turner, Wilfrid Gabriel de Glehn, George Spencer Watson, Sydney Lee, Leonard Campbell Taylor, Edwin Landseer Lutyens and Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs. (see web-site: Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture).
He has an entry in the 1927 Edition of Who’s Who in Art.
No mention of Thomas’ legacy would be complete without mentioning the rich artistic background from which his five children and 16 grandchildren came. Amongst his children, Theresa, Cecilia, Genevieve, Anthony and Gabrielle, all are talented artists, with one carving sculptures in wood, another an iconographer and another a sculptor. These three have also given over 75 years to teaching in Catholic schools.
Some of his grandchildren, have inherited Thomas’ talent, as well as some of his 34 great grandchildren.
Sadly Anthony, passed away in July 2017, followed by one of his sisters, Cecilia in May 2018. They both lived lives to the full and were skilled artists in their respective fields, wood carver and iconographer.