James Thom, sculptor, was one of a group of Scottish 'mason sculptors' who enjoyed a period of popularity for familiar subjects from Scottish history. He was born on 17 April 1802 in Ayrshire. In 1827 he attracted the attention of David Auld, a barber in Ayr, for his carved bust of Robert Burns. Both that piece and a life-size sculpture of Burn's Tam O'Shanter were displayed firstly in the Burns Monument, and then in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London. There they received great praise. Encouraged by his success Thom went on to create a number of other sculptures that were equally as triumphant.
Around 1836 Thom visited America to accompany some of his works that were being exhibited there. He settled in Newark, New Jersey and began to execute a series of replicas of his best-known works. Thom amassed a great fortune and bought the Ramapo farm in Rockland County, new York. He died of consumption in New York City on 17 April 1850.
Greenwood, M (2004) ‘Thom, James (1802–1850)’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, Oxford)
[http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/27191, accessed 18 Nov 2007]