ALL SURVIVING PORTRAITS OF THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH’S DAUGHTERS BROUGHT TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MAJOR NEW EXHIBITION
This is an extremely forward announcement but as an art graduate and fine art enthusiast, I need to report on this! Gainsborough’s Family Album, National Portrait Gallery, London 22 November 2018 – 3 February 2019.
The National Portrait Gallery London is to bring together for the first time all twelve surviving
portraits of Thomas Gainsborough’s daughters in a major new exhibition, Gainsborough’s Family Album, opening on 22 November 2018, it was announced yesterday.
The portraits, which trace the development of the Gainsborough girls from playful young children to fashionable adults, include such famous images as:
- The Artist’s Daughters chasing a Butterfly (c.1756)
- The Artist’s Daughters with a Cat, (c.1760-1)
These will be seen alongside rarely seen paintings, such as the grand double full-length of Mary and Margaret Gainsborough as sumptuously-dressed young women (c.1774).
Thomas Gainsborough, (1727–88), was one of Britain’s most successful eighteenth-century portraitists. He was most devoted to landscape, the branch of art he most loved, yet he still managed to find the time, energy and desire to paint mportraits of his family members than any other artist of his or any earlier period is known to have produced. Gainsborough’s Family Album will provide a unique insight into the private life and motivations of one of Britain’s greatest artists.
- The exhibition will feature over fifty works from public and private collections across the world.
- The exhibition will include a number of works that have never been on public display in the UK, including an early portrait of the artist’s father John Gainsborough (c. 1746-8) and a drawing of Thomas and his wife Margaret’s pet dogs, Tristram and Fox.
- Gainsborough’s Family Album will chart Gainsborough’s career from youth to maturity, telling the story of an eighteenth-century provincial artist’s rise to metropolitan fame and fortune.
- Alongside this runs a more private narrative about the role of portraiture in the promotion of family values, at a time when these were in the process of assuming a recognizably modern form.
- The exhibition will both offer a new perspective on Gainsborough the portraitist and challenge our thinking about his era and its relationship to our own.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘We are delighted to be able to bring together so many of Gainsborough’s family portraits for the first time. The exhibition, which is unique in focusing on his paintings made for love, rather than for money, provides an unprecedented opportunity to see the intimate and personal aspect of Gainsborough’s portraits through this remarkable body of works depicting ‘ordinary people’ from a time when portraiture was almost exclusively confined to the rich, the famous and the upper classes’.
The exhibition will tour to Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey from 23 February – 5 June 2019. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book featuring fifty beautifully reproduced portraits from public and private collections around the world (£29.95).
Gainsborough’s Family Album | 22 November 2018 – 3 February 2019 | Tickets with donation: £14.50 - £16.00 | Tickets without donation: £12.50 - £14.00 | Free for Members and Patrons