Thomas Gainsborough, ‘Woods Near a Village with Rabbit Catchers and Their Greyhounds’, Late 1750s, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Overall: 26.1 x 36.8 cm (10 1/4 x 14 1/2 in.)

Image rights: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

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About Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough was considered by his peers to be one of the great masters of portraiture, and by historians to have shaped the English painting tradition. Gainsborough was taught originally by engraver Hubert Gravelot, and developed a mature style characterized by feathery brushwork and distinctly contemporary poses and dress. He was also a court favorite with King George III and a foundational member of the Royal Academy of Arts. In spite of high demand for his portraiture, Gainsborough dreamed of giving them up for landscapes—his true passion. Sir Joshua Reynolds, his reconciled lifelong rival, said in his eulogy of Gainsborough that, “If ever a nation should produce genius sufficient to acquire to us the honorable distinction of an English school, the name of Gainsborough will be transmitted to posterity.”

British, 1727-1788, Sudbury, Suffolk, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom