Gainsborough is one of the most appealing artists of the eighteenth century. Renowned for such elegant portraits as The Blue Boy and Countess Howe, he also pioneered a new form of landscape with a moody sensibility that prefigured the Romantic movement. He was a brilliant draftsman, and his art is full of inventiveness and visual delight.
William Vaughan draws on recently discovered material to provide a fresh perspective on both the life and art of this master. He shows how closely Gainsborough’s innovative manner can be connected to social and political developments in Britain, in particular the celebration of original genius in a time of burgeoning entrepreneurial commercialism. Above all, he demonstrates how, beneath the artist’s charm, there lay a bedrock of shrewd observation and pictorial intelligence that gives his work a value for all time.