Born in 1929. Thomas Ryan attended the Limerick School of Art, then the National College of Art in Dublin, where he studied under Seán Keating and Maurice MacGonigal.
In 1957 he first exhibited at the RHA and became an associate member in 1968. He has had many commissions for portraits and he is also well known for his sensitive still-life paintings and for his Irish historical scenes, especially those of the 1916 Rising.
He has exhibited at the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin and was President of the RHA from 1982 to 1993.