Thomas Gainsborough biography
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
Thomas Gainsborough was born in 1727, the son of John Gainsborough, a cloth merchant living in Sudbury, Suffolk. It was not long before the younger Gainsborough showed a marked talent for art, and at the tender age of 13 he was sent to London to study.
For the next 8 years Gainsborough studied in London under the engraver Gravelot. He also became familiar with the Flemish style of painting which was then very popular with art dealers.
In 1746 Gainsborough married Margaret Burr, widely held to be the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Bedford. Before he returned to Sudbury in 1748, Gainsborough produced his first well-known work, The Charterhouse.
Two years later he moved to Ipswich, where he had his first commercial success as a painter, completing many small portraits and two larger landscapes commissioned by the Duke of Bedford.
In 1759 the Gainsborough family was on the move once more, this time to the fashionable spa town of Bath, where high society congregated. It was in Bath that Gainsborough became truly popular as a portrait artist, concentrating on full-length, life-sized images.
In 1768 Gainsborough became one of the founders of the Royal Academy, though he later had a falling out with the organizers of the RA exhibits. After 1784 Gainsborough refused to exhibit at the Royal Academy, and instead, created his own showings at his London house in Pall Mall.
Discounted Historic Hotels
Name the Historic attraction
British Heritage Awards
Celebrate the best of British Heritage in our annual
British History Quiz
This fleet was sent by Philip of Spain in an attempt to invade England
The fleet was defeated by a combination of bad weather and English seamanship
One of the naval commanders facing the Spanish was Sir Francis Drake
This Day in British History
29 August, 1833
Act declared no child labour under 9, nine hour day for children under 13