Though Gainsborough was born in Suffolk, he left there when he was 13 to work in London under the book-illustrator and engraver, Hubert Gravelot (1699-1773). Early influences included the work of William Hogarth (1697-1764), Francis Hayman (1708-76) and Dutch 17th-century paintings, many pictures of which he copied and restored for dealers as part of his job. He also began painting landscapes which did not sell well.
He returned to Sudbury around 1748 with a wife, Margaret Burr, and painted portraits for a living. Two years later he moved to Ipswich and, in 1759, moved to Bath. In 18th-century Britain, Bath was one of the most fashionable towns for high society, and he probaly moved there to find more sitters. He must of done this for he was in Bath for the next 15 years.
He moved to London in 1774. He had exhibited there since 1761 with the Society of Artists and was among the original member of the Royal Academy when it was founded in 1768. When he moved there permantently in 1774, it was to compete with his biggest rival of the day, Joshua Reynolds (1723-92). The rivalry was intense, for though Reynolds was knighted and head of the King's own Academy, it was Gainsborough who all the Royal Family preferred to paint them.
Unlike other leading artists of the day, Gainsborough painted all his pictures himself. He also used techniques (long brushes, diluting paint with turpentine to the conistency of watercolour) which ensured his paintings lasted far better than those of most of other British 18th-century painters.
- Thomas Gainsborough's wife's nephew, Gainsborough Dupont (c.1755-97) was his pupil and imitator
- The Duke of Beaufort was the illegitimate father of his wife. When they married, he gave them a £200 annuity
- He was influenced by Sir Athony van Dyck (1599-1641)
- When Gainsborough and his family moved from Bath to London in 1774, they lived in Schomberg House, Pall Mall
- Though he was elected to the Council of the Royal Academy, he quarrelled with them regarding the hanging of his pictures in 17773. It was four years before he exhibited with them again, and after another row in 1784 he never exhibited with them again
Gainsborough canvas prints @ ebay.com (direct link to canvas prints which look like paintings and are a 100 times better than an ordinary print or poster)
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