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Thomas Gainsborough

1727-1788 England/Rococo

 

Brief Biography-Thomas Gainsborough from Sudbury, England, loved painting landscapes but became one of England's most renowned portraitists. He was the youngest of the nine children of a humble cloth merchant. His mother, an amateur artist, recognised his talent as a youth and sent him to London when at fifteen for tuition. He entered Saint Martin's Lane Academy, gaining influence from Director William Hogarth and the portraitist and historical painter Francis Hayman. His master Hubert Gravelot also influenced him in the style of rococo.
He set up a studio in Hatten Garden in 1745, where he made a living from selling copies of masters' paintings. In 1764, he married Margaret Burr, the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Beaufort. They had a stable marriage, and he used his two daughters as models in his paintings. When his father died, they moved to Ipswich for seven years. He led a busy life painting landscapes there, but his works failed to sell well, and he begrudgingly leaned towards portraiture for a living.
When he moved to Bath, his career began to take off productively. It was not long before he became considerably successful, with the influx of visitors to Bath commissioning his work. He gained access to the paintings of Van Dyck and other masters in the houses of wealthy patrons; this had a profound bearing on his portraiture. In addition, he enjoyed learning to play the viola da gamba and other stringed instruments in his spare time.
In 1768, he was made a founding member of the Royal Academy and moved to London in 1774. He was frequently at odds with the committee over the hanging order of his paintings, and he eventually exhibited them at his house in Pall Mall. It was not until 1781 that he came into royal favour and did considerable work in Windsor. He gained a good deal of wealth and acquired an exclusive residence in Richmond.
He collaborated on experimental scenes with Philip Jacques de Loutherbourg, the illustrator and stage designer. The artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo inspired him, which led to his paintings of what was referred to by his age-old rival Sir Joshua Reynolds as the "fancy pictures." They were paintings of idyllic genre scenes, mostly of beggar children, which became particularly popular and achieved high prices. He spent his later years on sketching trips around England. Before he died of cancer in 1788, he reconciled with Sir Joshua Reynolds on his deathbed.

 

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Mrs Hatchett

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Mrs Drummond

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Mrs Peter Baker

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Cottage Girl

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David Garrick

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The Wood Gatherers

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Mrs Thomas Hibbert

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The Blue Boy

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Octavius

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Hon F Duncombe

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View in Suffolk

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Landscape

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A Grand Landscape

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Painters' Daughters

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The Charterhouse

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Charlotte G

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Count Rumford

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Edward Vernon

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Elizabeth Wrottesly

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Francis Rawdon

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Wooded Upland

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Lady Alston

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Lady Bate Dudley

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Lady Cavendish

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Lady in Blue

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Lady Sheffield

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Lord Ligonier

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The Artist's Wife

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Mary Gainsborough

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Master Heathcote

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Mrs Grace D Elliot

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edward r gardiner

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