Born in rural Suffolk, the largely self-taught [Thomas] Gainsborough established his reputation as a society portraitist at Bath, a popular resort, before moving to London in 1774. Despite his urban success, he never lost his love of the countryside and coastline, lamenting, “I’m sick of portraits and wish very much to … walk off to some sweet village, where I can paint Landskips.”
Gainsborough’s landscapes, however, are seldom if ever of actual scenery. In accordance with much eighteenth-century art theory, he believed that nature itself was an unsuitable subject. Only after an artist had refined a scene through his sensibilities could he begin to paint it.
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- TS Eliot’s widow’s art collection to be auctioned for charity (guardian.co.uk)