The Scotsman who fell in love with Argentina and portrayed rural landscapes in his paintings

Thomas Gibson was born in 1808 in Scotland, the son of textile entrepreneur John and Janet Taylor. There his father had the Casa Gibson & Cia, dedicated to the export of genres, and in 1818 he decided to establish a branch in Buenos Aires, for which he sent his eldest son John and the following year he sent his other son Jorge, creating the name John Gibson Sons & Cia to import goods and export leather, otter skins and other products. The Gibsons were quick to acquire several fields.

The Gibsons were quick to acquire fields, the first was in Monte Grande, later sold to Parish Robertson, then in the Brandsen area they bought the Estancia “El Paraíso”, followed by the “Sol de Mayo” on the Salado coast, in 1824 they acquired the Estancia de los Portugueses on the Samborombón River, later known as Estancia del Samborombón. In 1825 they bought the Estancia “Rincón del Tuyú” later called “Los Ingleses”, later it was the turn of “Los Jagüeles” between Salado and Samborombón; and finally a stay in the vicinity of the Kakel Huincul lagoon (between Gral Guido and Maipú).

Heriberto Gibson in a letter to Ricardo Hogg tells him in 1927 that: “In 1826, the Gibson company owned five estancias with more than 60,000 cattle, 40 herds, or about 4,000 mares., many mules, slaves and the general equipment of that time of transport material and defense against raids; two pieces of artillery inclusive”.

Between 1826 and 1828, given the situation with Brazil and the blockade of the Río de la Plata, the Gibsons were financially bankrupt; furthermore John (h) dies of pneumonia in 1828. Tomás arrived in Buenos Aires in 1838, being an engineer, and together with his brothers Roberto and Jorge they took charge of the only farm they had left: “Los Ingleses”.

They arrived in the Tuyú area with effort and dedication, gallantly defending the ranch from the raids of 1831 and 1855. They became pioneers in sheep farming, they started with pampas sheep, after 1852 they imported the first Rommey Marsh sheepcame to have the most important Lincoln hatchery in Argentina, they were the first to import a press to bale wool, and to be able to export the bales directly to the European market.

Tomás, in addition to managing the establishment, had moments to display his passion for painting; Among his works related to the stay of the English and on themes of rural life, the following stand out: “Casa de la estancia los Ingleses”; “Sunset on the pampas”; “Englishmen”; “La Tomasa”; “Carrying wool to load in the port”; “Self-portrait”; “Montecito de montaner”; “Los Ingleses Estancia Lagoon”; “The primitive house of the Los Ingleses ranch”; among others. These works demonstrate the attachment he had for his rural settlement.

In 1845, on the banks of the Ajó River, they installed fat stores to slaughter sheep and export bait, the port picked up pace, a pulpería appeared and then salting sheds were installed, Tomás in 1854 married Clementina Corbett and they were the parents of nine children, including Ernesto (1855- 1919) an ornithologist who made innumerable reports on birds in Tuyú, a friend of Guillermo Hudson; and administrator of the ranch La Tomasa, in Cacharí, acquired in 1855; another son was Heriberto (1863-1934), administrator of the English, who also published in 1893 an interesting book on sheep history in Argentina entitled: “The History and present state of the sheep-breeding industry in the Argentine Republic”

In 1865 Valentín Alsina sent Minister Cárdenas the Project of the Rural Code, in the note he explained that since 1856 he received the cooperation of practical men, thinkers and connoisseurs of the needs of the campaign. One of the informants of 1856, in livestock, was Tomás Gibson.

For the descendants of Tomas Gibson, nothing could be more accurate than what was stated in 1888 by Estanislao Zeballos in An enjoyable description of the Argentine Republic -Volume III. Through the cabins- : “The preceding review of the Los Ingleses ranch and the clear intelligence shown by its organization and direction, authorize me to dedicate an honorable memory to the two dead Gibson brothers, to the surviving Don Tomás Gibson, to their children Heriberto and Ernesto, citizens who honor the Argentine Republic, as distinguished workers of its progress

Leave a Reply