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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Portrait and landscape painter

A very useful illustrated survey is provided by H. Belsey, Gainsborough’s Family, Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, 1988.

Self Portraits (paintings)
c.1740
Standing three-quarter length, holding palette. Private collection. Exhibited Gainsborough, Tate Gallery, Washington, Boston, Mass., 2002-03 (1). The identity is probably correct.

c.1748
With his wife and small daughter in a landscape. National Gallery (6547; E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.296, front.; J. Egerton, National Gallery Catalogue, The British School, 1998, pp 64-71). The daughter has been identified as Mary who was buried on 1 March 1747/8.

1754
Unfinished, bust length with hat. Houghton Hall (E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.290).

c.1758-59
See NPG 4446.

c.1786
Half-length painted oval, in blue coat. Holkham (E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.295). Version sold Christie’s, 15 April 1994, lot 23; another Old Hall Gallery, Rye, 1992, probably by Gainsborough Dupont.

1787-88
Half-length painted oval, in green coat. Royal Academy (E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.292), presented by the artist’s daughter 1808. Engraved F. Bartolozzi 1798, for whose preparatory drawing and further discussion, see NPG 1107; H. Meyer from a drawing by John Jackson, 1810 (related drawings by Jackson are in the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).
A replica, completed by Dupont, in the Courtauld Gallery (E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.293). A reversed bust-length crayon drawing with W. H. Pfungst 1910 (photograph in NPG archive) possibly a fabrication from Gainsborough self portraits.

By other Artists
c.1772
Painting by Johann Zoffany, unfinished bust-length oval. Tate Gallery (N 1487), lent to the NPG 1934-93. Probably painted as a study for Zoffany’s Academicians (see NPG 1437), from which however Gainsborough (with George and Nathaniel Dance) chose to be omitted. According to G. W. Fulcher, Life of Thomas Gainsborough, 1856, p 205, C. H. Weigall took a medallion from this portrait.

Posthumous
1790
Painting by Gainsborough Dupont, exhibited RA 1790 (471).

1858
Medal by E. Ortner (L. Brown, A Catalogue of British Historical Medals 1760-1960: The Accession of George III to the Death of William IV, 1980, no.2653). Exhibited RA 1858 (1110). Art Union laudatory medal, an example in the NPG reference collection (D28410).

1906
Marble statue by Thomas Brock. Tate Gallery. A life-size plaster exhibited Franco-British Exhibition, London, 1908 (1308), and a bronze cast in Burlington House.

1909
Sculpture by S. N. Babb. Victoria and Albert Museum, south front.

1913
Bronze statue by Bertram Mackennel. St Peter’s church, Sudbury, Suffolk. Mackennel exhibited a bronze statuette of Gainsborough RA 1916 (1900).

Doubtful Portraits
Painting by Gainsborough, Conversation in a Park c.1746 (Louvre; E. K. Waterhouse, Gainsborough, 1958, no.752, and see Thomas Sandby); painting variously attributed to Zoffany or William Hoare (Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, Calif.; illus. G. C. Williamson & Lady Victoria Manners, John Zoffany, R.A., his life and works, 1920, f.p.242 as Zoffany; J. Hayes, Gainsborough, 1975, fig.3 as attributed to Hoare), possibly shows Daniel Webb (1719?-98).

Two drawings of a left-handed artist sketching in a landscape: one by Gainsborough of c.1750-5 (British Museum, 1988.3.5.59; J. Egerton, National Gallery Catalogues, The British School, 1998, p 66; engraved R. Lane 1825 in reverse), the other ascribed to Fuseli (Victoria and Albert Museum, P.1.1914).



This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.