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Karl Friedrich Abel

5 of 262 portraits by Thomas Gainsborough

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Karl Friedrich Abel

by Thomas Gainsborough
circa 1765
12 3/4 in. x 10 in. (324 mm x 254 mm)
NPG 5081

This portraitback to top

A compositional study for NPG 5947, differing principally in showing the coat buttoned up, the neck of the viola da gamba higher above his shoulder, and a window on the left.

Referenceback to top

Hayes 1970
J. Hayes, The Drawings of Thomas Gainsborough, 2 vols., 1970, no.27. (as ownership unknown).

Wilson 1977
M. I. Wilson, Apollo, CV, 1977, p 109.

Provenanceback to top

The artist’s daughter, Margaret Gainsborough, by whom bequeathed to Henry Briggs; his sale, Christie's, 25 February 1831, lot 106, bought Crompton;1 bought c.1935 by Hubert Gregory, Harrogate;2 Sotheby's, 1 April 1976, lot 66, bt. Agnew, from whom purchased 1976.

1 Assuming that NPG 5081 was the drawing described by G. W. Fulcher , Life of Thomas Gainsborough, 1856, p 216: ‘one of Gainsborough’s favourite drawings was a portrait of Abel. It was bequeathed by Miss Gainsborough to Mr Briggs, at the sale of whose pictures it was purchased by Mr Crompton.'
2 ‘I bought it over 40 years ago as part of a job lot at a sale in Yorkshire’ (Yorkshire Post, 2 April 1976).

Exhibitionsback to top

Gainsborough and his Musical Friends, Kenwood, 1977 (17); Gainsborough, Paris, 1981 (89); Gainsborough Drawings, Washington, Fort Worth, New Haven, 1983-84 (32); Gainsborough's Circle at Bath, Bath, 1988 (24); Music hath Charms, Orleans House, Twickenham, 1988 (103); Master Drawings 1993-95 (22); Gainsborough, Ferrara, 1998 (56).

Reproductionsback to top

R. Lane 1825 (Studies of Figures by Gainsborough).


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.

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