GAYER-ANDERSON, Thomas Gayer

1881 - 1960

Robert Greville and Thomas Gayer, the identical twin brothers, born in Ireland on 29 July 1881, sons of Robert Henry Anderson and his wife Mary née Morgan who took the name Gayer-Anderson. His father moved to Tonbridge, Kent in 1884 so that his sons could be schooled at Tonbridge, both brothers followed service careers, but along separate though occasionally converging paths. Though separated by great distances early in their careers, they were intensely conscious of their relationship and thought of themselves as a unity: thus they were able to acquire independently yet build and hold the collection in common with untroubled unanimity. Thomas entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in 1898 and commissioned into the Royal Field Artillary in 1899 and later passed through Staff College. He served in the Boer War in South Africa 1900-1902 and in Sudan being seconded to the Egyptian Army 1911-1914. He served in Europe during the first world war, both brothers were at Gallipoli in 1915, which reinforced their high regard for the Australian forces, and during which time Thomas was Mentioned in Despatches eight times. Thomas spent two years in Constantinople and was promoted to Colonel in 1922. He had a spell at Staff College, Camberley followed by three years on the General Staff in India before retiring to Little Hall, Lavenham, Suffolk in 1929. Thomas was a keen draughtsman as such was prompted to seek out images in that medium and during a collecting tour through Rajputana, India he recorded that Indian drawings were then so little considered locally that owners would not produce them unless pressed to do so. On his retirement was a figure painter who exhibited three painting at the Royal Academy 1929-1938, from London in 1929 and then from Lavenham. Thomas died at Lavenham on 10 June 1960. The brothers had been great art lovers and they collected miniatures, paintings and several other art objects from different regions of India and Egypt and donated their collections to different museums including Australia, Cairo, the FitzWilliam Museum Cambridge, the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The brothers, when younger were noted for their fine horsemanship and for their unusually large moustaches, who both returned to the active list for the second world war.

Also Robert Greville GAYER-ANDERSON,
Robert, known as 'John', qualified as a doctor at Guy’s Hospital, London and became an officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps, being commissioned in 1903 and was seconded to the Egyptian Army from 1907 until 1917, mentioned in despatches rising to the rank of Lewa (Major-General). After retiriment in 1920, Robert served the Egyptian government in several senior capacities and, during his time in Egypt, collected Egyptian objects of great importance which are preserved in the Gayer-Anderson Pasha Museum which is housed in his former home in Cairo. In 1942, Robert was forced by ill health to leave Egypt, when he gave the contents of the house to the Egyptian government and King Farouk gave him the title of Pasha. The author of 'Legends of the Bait al-Kretliya as told by Sheikh Sulaiman al-Kretli and put into English by R.G.'. Robert Gayer-Anderson joined his twin brother Thomas at his home Little Hall, Market Place, Lavenham in the summers, to avoid the Egyptian climate and where he died on 16 June 1945 and was buried at Lavenham.
Little Hall, Market Place, Lavenham, Suffolk is now the headquarters of The Suffolk Preservation Society and houses many items from the twins' collections, including some of their own paintings, including those illustrated, mostly of the family and is open to the public. www.littlehall.org.uk




Works by This Painter