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 Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough

Birth
Sudbury, Babergh District, Suffolk, England
Death 17 Aug 1788 (aged 61)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 12118 · View Source
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Artist. Born at Sudbury, Suffolk, England, one of nine children of John Gainsborough, a wool cloth manufacturer. His artistic skills were notable as early as age ten, and at thirteen he was apprenticed to a London silversmith. He studied under Gravelot, an engraver, and Charles Grignon, who taught him the art of etching. Within a few years, he became an independent, painting landscapes for dealers at bargain prices. He returned to Sudbury in 1745 where he met and married Margaret Burr. The couple moved to Ipswich, where he began taking commissions for portraits. In 1760, he moved to Bath where he became the fashionable portraitist of the time, allowing him to raise his commission from a modest eight guineas, to forty guineas for a half length portrait, and a hundred for a whole length portrait. In 1768, he was elected one of the founding members of the Royal Academy, and contributed to its exhibitions from 1769 to 1772. In 1774, the successful artist moved to London, taking up residence at Schomberg House, Pall Mall. In 1777, he began again to exhibit at the Royal Academy,among those works were a portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Northumberland, Lord Cornwallis, and Lord Sandwich. 1779 is the most probable date for the full-length portrait of the son of Mr. Buttall, which is usually called as ‘The Blue Boy.’ Gainsborough never signed and seldom dated his works. He received commissions from the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland in 1777, and from the King and Queen in 1781. In 1784, after a dispute about the hanging of his work, he withdrew all his pictures and never exhibited at the Academy again. He remained, however, a favorite of George III and his family. In February 1788, he noted a cyst on his neck that proved to be a cancer which proved fatal within six months. According to his wishes, he was buried in Kew churchyard. Among his pall-bearers were Sir Joshua Reynolds, and his nephew, Gainsborough Dupont, who was chief mourner. He always maintained he preferred landscapes to portraits despite his success wit them, he once wrote, “I'm sick of Portraits and wish very much to ...walk off to some sweet Village, where I can paint [landscapes] and enjoy the fag End of life in quietness and ease.” His total career numbered more than 300 paintings, including 220 portraits, as well as at least 18 etched plates, and countless drawings.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Sep 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12118
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Gainsborough (14 May 1727–17 Aug 1788), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12118, citing St. Anne Churchyard, Kew, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .