Thomas Gainsborough (christened 14 May 1727 – died 2 August 1788) was one
of the most famous portrait and landscape painters of 18th century
Britain.Thomas Gainsborough (christened 14 May 1727 – died 2 August 1788) was
one of the most famous portrait and landscape painters of 18th century Britain.
(christened 14 May 1727 – died 2 August 1788) was one of the most famous
portrait and landscape painters of 18th century Britain.
Life and work
Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. His father was a
weaver involved with the wool trade. At the age of thirteen he impressed his
father with his pencilling skills so that he let him go to London to study art
in 1740. In London he first trained under engraver Hubert Gravelot but
eventually became associated with William Hogarth and his school. One of his
mentors was Francis Hayman. In those years he contributed to the decoration of
what is now the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children and the supper boxes at
Gainsborough's Mr and Mrs Andrews (1748-49). National Gallery,
the 1740s, Gainsborough married Margaret Burr, an illegitimate daughter of the
Duke of Beaufort, who settled a £200 annuity on the couple. The artist's work,
then mainly composed of landscape paintings, was not selling very well. He
returned to Sudbury in 1748–1749 and concentrated on the painting of portraits.
In 1752, he and his family, now including two daughters, moved to Ipswich.
Commissions for personal portraits increased, but his clientele included mainly
local merchants and squires. He had to borrow against his wife's annuity.Bath
The Blue Boy (1770). The Huntington, California.
In 1759, Gainsborough and his family moved to Bath. There, he studied
portraits by van Dyck and was eventually able to attract a better-paying high
society clientele. In 1761, he began to send work to the Society of Arts
exhibition in London (now the Royal Society of Arts, of which he was one of the
earliest members); and from 1769 on, he submitted works to the Royal Academy's
annual exhibitions. He selected portraits of well-known or notorious clients in
order to attract attention. These exhibitions helped him acquire a national
reputation, and he was invited to become one of the founding members of the
Royal Academy in 1769. His relationship with the academy, however, was not an
easy one and he stopped exhibiting his paintings there in 1773.
In 1774, Gainsborough and his family moved to London to live in Schomberg
House, Pall Mall. In 1777, he again began to exhibit his paintings at the Royal
Academy, including portraits of contemporary celebrities, such as the Duke and
Duchess of Cumberland. Exhibitions of his work continued for the next six years.
Mr and Mrs William Hallett (1785).
In 1780, he painted the portraits of King George III and his queen and
afterwards received many royal commissions. This gave him some influence with
the Academy and allowed him to dictate the manner in which he wished his work to
be exhibited. However, in 1783, he removed his paintings from the forthcoming
exhibition and transferred them to Schomberg House.
In 1784, royal painter Allan Ramsay died and the King was obliged to give the
job to Gainsborough's rival and Academy president, Joshua Reynolds, however
Gainsborough remained the Royal Family's favorite painter. At his own express
wish, he was buried at St. Anne's Church, Kew, where the Family regularly
In his later years, Gainsborough often painted relatively simple, ordinary
landscapes. With Richard Wilson, he was one of the originators of the
eighteenth-century British landscape school; though simultaneously, in
conjunction with Joshua Reynolds, he was the dominant British portraitist of the
second half of the 18th century.
He died of cancer on 2 August 1788 at the age of 61.
Mrs Thomas Hibbert. Neue Pinakothek.
Gainsborough painted more from his observations of nature (and human nature)
than from any application of formal academic rules. The poetic sensibility of
his paintings caused Constable to say, "On looking at them, we find tears in our
eyes and know not what brings them." He himself said, "I'm sick of portraits,
and wish very much to take my viol-da-gam and walk off to some sweet village,
where I can paint landskips (sic) and enjoy the fag end of life in
quietness and ease."
His most famous works, such as Portrait of Mrs. Graham; Mary and
Margaret: The Painter's Daughters; William Hallett and His Wife
Elizabeth, nee Stephen, known as The Morning Walk; and Cottage
Girl with Dog and Pitcher, display the unique individuality of his subjects.
Gainsborough's only known assistant was his nephew, Gainsborough Dupont.
Kitty (1945) is a notable fictional film about Gainsborough, portrayed by
Gainsborough has an important posthumous role in the alternate history novel The
Two Georges by Harry Turtledove.
In Darwyn Cooke's revival of the classic comic book series The Spirit, heroine
Silk Satin nicknames the eponymous protagonist "Gainsborough" because of his
blue outfit, in a silly reference to Gainsborough's most famous painting.
In Blackadder the Third, Baldrick's cousin Bert is mentioned to be
Gainsborough's butler's dogs body.
This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected,
associated with or authorized by the individual, family,
friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or
the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated
sites that are related to this subject will be hyper
linked below upon submission
and Evisum, Inc. review.
Please join us in our mission to incorporate America's Four United Republics discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The
People. Click Here