landscape with horse with rider at bottom center

Wooded Landscape with Horseman and Pack Horse, early 1770s

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Though best known for his magnificent portraits, Thomas Gainsborough preferred painting “landskips” (as he called them) and played a key role in establishing the importance of landscape in British art. As a young artist he enjoyed the beauties of his native Suffolk countryside. After moving to Bath, to pursue the regular income the spa town could provide a portrait painter, he had less time for gamboling through the fields. Instead, he fashioned miniature landscapes, using broccoli for trees, bits of cork or coal for stones, fragments of mirrors for water, and whatever else was to hand. He dedicated an oak folding table to this purpose and would set it up in his parlor. This is not to say he never again drew from nature, but many of his mature landscapes are fantasies deeply informed by experience.

Wooded Landscape with Horseman and Pack Horse
Artist Life
Accession Number
John Jay, New York ('1794*-d. 1829); by descent to the widow of Augustus Jay; Reverend James Dabney McCabe, D.D., Richmond, Virginia; by descent to his granddaughter, Mrs. Darragh Aldrich, Minneapolis (1929-64; gave to MIA). *John Jay traveled to England as representative of President Washington to negotatiate the Jay treaty.
Curator Approved

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landscape with horse with rider at bottom center