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Gainsborough’s Landscapes

Themes and Variations

Sat 31 March 2012, 11.00amSun 10 June 2012, 5.00pm

This is the first exhibition in fifty years solely devoted to Gainsborough’s landscapes, bringing together a wonderful group of paintings and drawings from public and private collections spanning his whole career.

Although Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) sold relatively few of his landscape paintings he regarded them as his most important work. When not occupied with his lucrative portrait business the artist devoted much of his time to the creation of rural landscapes ‘of his own Brain’ (as he termed them). The resulting paintings, sketches and studios give us a traditional view of the English countryside, and the people and animals that lived and worked in it.

The exhibition brings together some of Gainsborough’s finest landscape oils and works on paper and examines them not through a chronological survey but by exploring certain ‘themes and variations’. There were many ideas that he returned to throughout his career, and the exhibition shows how certain motifs recur in his landscape work, gradually coming together in the creation of larger, more dominant compositions.

The art works have been chosen by the curator to represent six principal landscape types, and these themes are explored through a combination of oils, drawings and prints, many not previously exhibited, that show how the artist developed and orchestrated them.

Exhibition organised by the Holburne Museum, Bath and curated by Dr. Susan Sloman.