Karl Friedrich Abel
- Extended Catalogue Entry
Karl Friedrich Abel
by Thomas Gainsborough
black and white chalk with stump on blue paper, circa 1765
12 3/4 in. x 10 in. (324 mm x 254 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Karl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787), Composer and concert impresario. Sitter in 5 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Portrait and landscape painter. Artist associated with 263 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Drawings enabled artists to refine compositions before committing paint to canvas. This lively drawing by Gainsborough of his friend Karl Abel, a musician, is a preliminary study for an oil painting. The bold, impressionistic handling shows that Gainsborough's draftsmanship had much in common with his painting style. Abel's clothes are, however, different in the final portrait and he holds a different musical instrument. This image therefore probably dates from an early sitting, representing Gainsborough's initial thoughts for the composition.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 47
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 2
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Art of Drawing: Portraits from the Collection, 1670-1780 (19 October 2012 - 19 May 2013)
- Late Eighteenth Century Prints and Drawings (17 April 2004 - 5 September 2004)
Events of 1765back to top
Current affairsGeorge Grenville is dismissed as Prime Minister. He is succeeded by Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham.
Isle of Man is brought under British control.
Stamp Act requires that printed materials in the colonies, such as legal documents and newspapers, are produced on paper made in London carrying an embossed revenue stamp.
Art and scienceNevil Maskelyne becomes Astronomer Royal.
Writer Samuel Johnson publishes his edition of Shakespeare.
Inventor James Watt makes a breakthrough in the development of the steam engine by constructing a model with a separate condenser.
Judge and politician William Blackstone publishes his influential work Commentaries on the Laws of England.
InternationalRobert Clive secures the rights for the East India Company to collect taxes in Bengal from Mughal Emperor Shah Alam.
American campaigners against the Stamp Act organise themselves as the Sons of Liberty in Massachusetts and New York.
Make a donation
Support our Making History appeal and help us transform the Gallery.
A unique range of books, accessories and gifts. Every purchase supports the Gallery’s work.
Bring a familiar face home
Refresh your home gallery with a huge selection of custom art prints .
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints