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date: 07 August 2020

Gainsborough, Thomaslocked

(b Sudbury, Suffolk, bapt May 14, 1727; d London, Aug 2, 1788).
  • Michael Rosenthal

Extract

(b Sudbury, Suffolk, bapt May 14, 1727; d London, Aug 2, 1788).

English painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was the contemporary and rival of Joshua Reynolds, who honoured him on 10 December 1788 with a valedictory Discourse (pubd London, 1789), in which he stated: ‘If ever this nation should produce genius sufficient to acquire to us the honourable distinction of an English School, the name of Gainsborough will be transmitted to posterity, in the history of Art, among the very first of that rising name.’ He went on to consider Gainsborough’s portraits, landscapes and fancy pictures within the Old Master tradition, against which, in his view, modern painting had always to match itself. Reynolds was acknowledging a general opinion that Gainsborough was one of the most significant painters of their generation. Less ambitious than Reynolds in his portraits, he nevertheless painted with elegance and virtuosity. He founded his landscape manner largely on the study of northern European artists and developed a very beautiful and often poignant imagery of the British countryside (...

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