by Thomas Gainsborough
oil on canvas, circa 1755
23 7/8 in. x 19 3/4 in. (606 mm x 502 mm)
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Artistback to top
- Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Portrait and landscape painter. Artist associated with 262 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Here Gibbs is shown composing a Sonata, with volumes of music by the Italian composers Geminiani and Corelli beside him. In the 1750s when this portrait was made Gainsborough and Joseph Gibbs were both members of the Ipswich Musical Club. Gainsborough's portraits of his musician friends are among his most sensitive, reflecting his own love of music; according to an obituary he 'thought he was not intended by nature for a painter, but a musician'. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).
Linked publicationsback to top
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 98
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 244
Events of 1755back to top
Current affairsGeorge Grenville resigns as Treasurer of the Navy and Henry Bilson Legge as Chancellor of the Exchequer in protest over payments made to Russia to protect Hanover. William Pitt the Elder is dismissed from the position of Paymaster of the Forces.
Art and scienceSamuel Johnson publishes his monumental Dictionary; the first authoritative dictionary of the English language.
Methodist preacher John Wesley publishes Notes on a New Testament.
InternationalAn earthquake nearly completely destroys Lisbon, Portugal. The event is widely discussed by European Enlightenment thinkers, inspiring Voltaire's Candide. Its intensive study leads to the birth of modern seismology and earthquake engineering.
Edward Braddock fights French and Indian troops in the Ohio valley. His army are ambushed at Fort Duquesne and he is killed; one of several encounters prior to the declaration of the Seven Years War.
- Lunchtime Lecture: Thomas Gainsborough: Chameleon of Art
5 October, 13:15
- In Conversation: Catherine Opie with Dr Nicholas Cullinan
2 October, 14:00