Gainsborough, one of the greatest English masters of portrait and landscape painting, was born at Sudbury, and in his early years he found delight in sketching the pleasant scenery surrounding his home. He was sent to London at the age of fourteen to study under Gravelot, the book illustrator, and others. His early efforts as a portrait and landscape painter were not successful. He married a lady with a small fortune and settled at Ipswich, but not until his removal to Bath in 1760 did he really achieve any considerable measure of fame. In that fashionable centre, however, he found scope for his genius in portrait painting, and he secured many commissions.

He migrated to London in 1774, and settled down in a portion of Schomberg House, Pall Mall. Here he quickly became the great rival of Sir Joshua Reynolds, dividing the town into factions which severally supported his claims and those of Reynolds, and challenging the opinions of artists and critics on the same question of supremacy even down to the present day. He became one of the original members of the Royal Academy, and his art was represented at its first Exhibition.

A concise summary of his style compared with that of Sir Joshua Reynolds is given in the catalogue of the Glasgow Art Gallery, as follows:

.. Gainsborough is deservedly reputed one of the first and greatest of the artists of England. His powers as a painter were more varied than those of Sir Joshua. As a landscape artist he is the precursor of the modern naturalists, and his portraits, of ladies especially, possess an unapproachable daintiness and grace."

He was profoundly influenced by the work of Van Dyck, but he was no copyist of other men's methods: indeed, he ranks with those brilliant executants in art, Velazquez and Frans Hals. His best work may be viewed in the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection, the National Gallery of Scotland, and the Dulwich Gallery.

From the book "Famous Paintings" Volume 2 printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
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Online "Name the Painting"

Paintings by Gainsborough
at ABC Gallery

Blue Boy
painting by Gainsborough

The Artchive
(scroll down, to find Gainsborough)

Paintings by Gainsborough
at Wikipedia

Famous Paintings in this Series

James Archer
My Great Grandmother

The Meeting


John Brett
From the Dorsetshire Cliffs

Arnesby Brown
The River Bank

Joseph Clark
Mother's Darling

John Constable
The Hay-Wain

Jean Baptiste Camille
The Fisherman's Hut

Jean Baptiste Camille
A Flood

Leonardo Da Vinci
Monna Lisa

Edouard Detaille
The Dream

Henri Fantin-Latour

Thomas Gainsborough
Queen Charlotte

Thomas Gainsborough
The Market Cart

Jean Baptiste Greuze
The Head of a Girl

Jean Baptiste Greuze

James Clark Hook
Home With the Tide

Alfred William Hunt
Windsor Castle

Josef Israels
The Shipwrecked Mariner

B.W. Leader
The Stream in Summer-time

Madame Vigee Le Brun
Portrait of the Artist

Alphonse Legros
A Canal With a Fisherman

Anton Mauve
Watering Horses

J.L.E. Meissonier
The Cavalier

Sir J.E. Millais
Speak! Speak!

Sir J.E. Mallais
My First Sermon

George Morland
The Reckoning

George Morland
The Inside of a Stable

The Immaculate Conception
of the Virgin

Alfred Parsons
When Nature Painted
All Things Gay

Ralph Peacock
The Sisters

Syndics of the
Cloth Merchants' Guild

Guido Reni
"Ecce Homo"

Sir Joshua Reynolds
Portrait of Mrs. Richard Hoare
With Her Infant Son

Briton Riviere
The Temptation
in the Wilderness

Dante Gabriel
Day Dreams

John Singer Sargent
Miss Ellen Terry
as Lady Macbeth

Lady Stanley
(Dorothy Tennant)
His First Offence

Jan Steen
Grace Before Meat

Marcus Stone
On the Road from
Waterloo to Paris

Constant Troyon
Watering Cattle

H.S. Tuke
"All Hands to the Pumps"

King Philip IV. of Spain

S.E. Waller
Sweethearts and Wives

Thomas Webster
The Smile

Famous Paintings Volume 1
Art Gallery

Famous Paintings Volume 2
Art Gallery

Art Appreciation