“Fools talk of imitation and copying, all is imitation.” ~Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough (pronunciation) was an English portrait and landscape painter who was one of the most influential artists of the 18th century. He is known for his naturalistic style and for his ability to capture the essence and personality of his subjects.

The Blue Boy

Gainsborough’s Early Life!

Gainsborough was born in Suffolk, England on May 14, 1727. He showed an early interest in art and was encouraged by his father to study painting. As a child,  he often went on walks in the countryside and painted the landscapes he saw. He also enjoyed drawing portraits of his family and friends. He attended art school in London from 1740 to 1746, then began working as a professional artist, painting portraits of wealthy clients.

A Woman in Blue (Portrait of the Duchess of Beaufort)

In 1759, Thomas married Margaret Burr, the daughter of a successful businessman, and the couple had six children together.

Mr. and Mrs. Andrews

Thomas Gainsborough Career

Gainsborough gained a reputation as one of the best portrait painters of his time. His sitters included King George III, Queen Charlotte, and the Duchess of Devonshire. He also painted well-known actors and musicians, such as David Garrick and Johann Christian Bach.

Mr. and Mrs. William Hallett (The Morning Walk)

In 1774, he moved to Bath, England. This was a fashionable spa town and he hoped to attract more wealthy clients.

Mrs. Sarah Siddons, The Actress

Although he initially worked as a portrait painter in London, he found that he preferred painting landscapes and rural scenes to portraits, and gained acclaim for his paintings of the English countryside, which were filled with light and color. He traveled extensively throughout England and Europe, painting some of the most beautiful scenery he encountered.

Portrait of Ann Ford

Thomas’ Death

Gainsborough’s health began to decline until he died in 1788. However, his work was highly influential and helped to shape the course of English art in the 18th century.

Seashore with Fishermen

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