Friday, 13 May 2016


MR AND MRS ROBERT ANDREWS by Thomas Gainsborough 1750
Born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England 1727 (christened 14 May 1727, died 2 August 1788)

Gainsborough was born only a few miles from where I was born and the landscapes he painted are those of my childhood. He is considered the father of English landscape painting and widely accepted as a major influence on another of my favorite landscape painters, John Constable.

I follow a show called Fake or Fortune, where Philip Mould, Fiona Bruce and Bendor Grosvenor, track down lost masterpieces. Recently the team covered a portrait and a landscape by Gainsborough:

Fake or Fortune on Gainsborough - In the course of the show the hosts demonstrated how Gainsborough worked from small landscape models and painted by candle light for dramatic lighting effects. Queue 26 minutes in on this Youtube video to see this, but I highly recommend watching the whole show if you're interested in art history.  

Perhaps because of the influence of the Impressionists, I've never known a modern painter to work with landscape models in this way. To me it makes complete sense to avoid the challenges of plein air painting. I also like that you can control the light and avoid changing weather conditions.

I chose the masterpiece above because it shows Gainsboroughs talent in portrait and landscape painting. He paid great attention to fashion and fabrics and this is clearly illustrated in the way this couple is dressed. He is a good painter to follow if you are interested in period costume.