ученица 10 "Г" класса
средней школы № 1276
учитель: Макарова Т.Г.
Childhood and Youth 5
Suffolk portraits 7
Bath and fashion 10
The later landscapes 16
Thomas Gainsborough is by general consent one of the most delightful, spontaneous and naturally gifted of all English painters and draughtsmen. He was an interesting person, inconsistent, impulsive, and easily touched. The painter preferred the companionship of fellow artists, musicians and actors. There was a combination of excitability and bohemianism on the one hand and practical good sense on the other hand in him.
He was born in 1727 in the small market town of Sudbury in Suffolk. In 1740, when he was only 13, Gainsborough set out for London, and lodged in the house of a silversmith. Thomas soon made acquaintance of Gravelot, an accomplished French engraver and draughtsman, who was his first teacher.
It was in Suffolk that Gainsborough met his future wife, a beautiful girl named Margaret Burr. The wedding took place in London in 1746. The couple had 2 daughters.
In 1752 Gainsborough moved from Sudbury to the seaport of Ipswich. At Ipswich the painter met his first biographer and best friend, Philip Thicknesse. Gainsborough attracted Thicknesse by the originality of his works, which lay in the fact that he unconsciously flouted the fashions of the day and found his inspiration in the work of the Dutch realistic painters. His 1st landscapes were the "View of the Charterhouse", the "Cornard Wood", "Landguard Fort" etc (about 1752).
Gainsborough had to paint portraits to make a living. His portraits show a keen understanding of human nature as well as of wild nature. He did not use landscape as a background to set off the figures, but as an integral part of the theme. Suffolk portraits are "Mr and Mrs Andrews", "The artist, his wife and child", "Scheming Jack, "MrKirby", "Mrs Kirby", "Samuel Kilderbee"(about 1751 — 1752)etc.
Philip Thicknesse offered Gainsborough to try his fortune in Bath, a popular resort (1759). It was in Bath that Gainsborough painted the best known of his portraits, the famous "Blue Boy"(1770).
Gainsborough who was ambitious, went to London, the center of the art life. The most famous pictures of his London period are "Mrs Graham", "Mrs Robinson", "Mrs Siddons"(1785), "The Morning Walk" (1786).
However, Gainsborough's first love was for landscape. The best-known of his landscapes are "The Grand Landscape", "Harvest Wagon", "Landscape with cattle" etc.
The painter died on August 2, 1788. As Sir Joshua Reynolds, the President of the Royal Academy, said in his obituary, the name of Gainsborough will be transmitted to posterity, in the history of the Art among the most famous English painters.
Thomas Gainsborough is by general consent one of the most delightful, spontaneous and naturally gifted of all English painters and draughtsmen.
Gainsborough's lifetime spanned an age of profound change in British painting and in the public's attitude towards British artists. He was born in 1727, when Hogarth was painting his first genre scenes and conversation pieces, and died in 1788, when Boydell's commissions for the Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall were giving a new impetus to British History painting. Gainsborough had an eye as sharp as Rembrandt's, but he had more than a just perceptive eye; he possessed an extraordinary capacity to translate what he observed into the medium of oil paint which puts him firmly, along with Rembrandt, and with artists such as Velazquez, Manet, Renoir and Picasso, into the top flight of "born painters".
Childhood and Youth
Thomas Gainsborough was born in 1727 and baptized on 14th May of that year at the Independent Meeting House in Friar's Lane in the small market town of Sudbury in Suffolk. Edward III had selected Sudbury as one of the places in which to settle Flemish weavers, and like so many East Anglian towns its prosperity was built on the proceeds of the cloth trade with which the Gainsborough family was connected for several generations.
The painters' father, John Gainsborough, was one of the last of the family to engage in the manufacture of woollen goods; but he is said to have discovered the secret of woollen shroud making in Coventry, and to have introduced it into Sudbury, where, for a time, he enjoyed a monopoly of the trade. However, he does not seem to have been very successful in the conduct of his affairs, and his property at the time of his death in 1748 was renounced by his wife and children in favour of a creditor. He was generous to a fault and possessed a great sense of humour, both of which were richly inherited by his son.
Gainsborough's mother was the sister of the Reverend Humphrey Burroughs, the headmaster of the ancient Grammar School at Sudbury, which Thomas and his brothers attended. Thomas had 4 brothers and 4 sisters.
The eldest, John, nicknamed "Scheming Jack", was an ingenious, if somewhat purposeless inventor, and on one occasion he attempted to fly from the roof of a summerhouse with a pair of wings of his own manufacture, but landed in the ditch, profoundly humiliated, but fortunately unhurt. Humphrey, another brother, was a Nonconformist clergyman to whom Thomas was always much attached; like John, he took a great interest in mechanics and engineering, but had more capacity in applying his ideas. He was awarded a premium by the society of Arts for a mill plough and a hive mill.
When John Constable visited Sudbury many years after Gainsborough was working there, he said, "It is a delightful country for a painter, I fancy, I see Gainsborough in every hedge and hollow tree," and Gainsborough often said in later life that Suffolk had made him a painter.
In 1740, when he was only 13, Gainsborough set out for London, and lodged in the house of a silversmith. Through the good offices of the silversmith, Gainsborough made acquaintance of the Frenchman, Gravelot. Gravelot was in England for a number of years, and is chiefly remembered for his very charming vignettes and designs for book illustrations. He was both an accomplished engraver and a sensitive and delicate draughtsman and, working with him, Gainsborough did not only acquire skill in the use of the engrave and etching needle, but also something of that sense of style and easy refinement associated with the French school. Gravelot had considerable standing among the artists of the day and was very friendly with Hogarth. He was, like Hogarth, a caricaturist and mocked somewhat defiantly the artistic shibboleths of the time. In the small artistic circle in London, Gainsborough no doubt met Hogarth, whose independent attitude would be likely to appeal to him, and whose fresh approach to the problems of painting had much influence on Gainsborough's work.
Whilst he lived in London, Gainsborough kept himself by painting small portraits and landscapes and by making drawings for the engravers. He also supplemented his resources by making models. He made his 1st essays in art by modelling figures of cows, horses and dogs, in which he attained great excellence. There is a cast in the plaster shops of an old horse that he modelled which has peculiar merits. In later life Gainsborough often amused himself by modelling, and on one occasion after a concert at Bath, he was so charmed by Miss Linley's voice that he sent his servant for a bit of clay with which he made and coloured her head. Sometimes he used to wax candles on the table to make impromptu models.
Gainsborough's love of landscape painting would naturally attract him to Suffolk, and he probably paid many visits to Sudbury while he was studying in London. It is possible that it was in Suffolk that Gainsborough met his future wife, a beautiful girl named Margaret Burr. The wedding took place in London in 1746 at Dr Keith's Mayfair Chapel which was used for the celebration of clandestine marriages. Evidently, the young couple had not been able to secure the approval of their elders, and resorted to a runaway affair.
It is not known exactly when Gainsborough returned to Suffolk to live, but he probably spent a good deal of time at Sudbury even before he finally gave up his rooms in London. Gainsborough's 2 daughters, Mary and Margaret, were both born in Sudbury, one in 1748 and the other 1752, and judging from the number of portraits of them as children, their father often prevailed upon them to pose for him. Gainsborough had an inkling that the girls were ill fitted for a normal society life, and might not easily find suitable husbands. His foreboding proved all true.
It was probably about 1752 that Gainsborough moved from Sudbury to the seaport of Ipswich where he lived until he went to Bath in 1759. At Ipswich the painter met his first biographer, Philip Thicknesse. According to his own story, Thicknesse was walking with in his pretty town garden and perceived a melancholy faced country man with his arms together leaning over a garden wall. Thicknesse stepped forward with intention to speak to the person and did not perceive until he was close up that it was a wooden man painted on a shaped board. He then learnt the address of the painter.