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Gainsborough, Thomas

Thomas Gainsborough was one of the most recognizable names in 18th-century art. Considered a true artistic genius, known for the inventiveness and complexity of his techniques, Gainsborough’s work is synonymous with sublime elegance and relaxed grace. A favorite of the aristocracy, who sought him out for his portraiture, Gainsborough was equally at home painting landscapes and pastoral idylls, presenting nobility, the working class, and nature with the same unaffected sympathy. Gainsborough’s ability to capture his subjects’ personality, to imbue them with an emotive poetry, set him apart from his contemporaries.

Gainsborough came to Bath in 1759, and soon established himself as a fashionable portrait painter. He was so successful during his period in Bath that he was able to increase the price of his paintings from 15 guinea for a half-length portrait such as this, to 60 guinea by 1774, nearly 4 times the yearly income of an average laborer.

Artist’s Museums and Collections:

Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, United Kingdom

Louvre Museum, Paris

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

The Royal Collection, London

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Frick Collection, New York City


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