Gainsborough in Bath

Susan Sloman

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When Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) arrived in the spa town of Bath, England, at the age of thirty-one, he was an artist of modest reputation. When he left sixteen years later, he was recognized as one of Europe’s foremost painters. In this exceptional book, Susan Sloman examines for the first time how this transformation took place. She offers an entirely new view of Gainsborough’s development during his middle years as well as abundant new information about Bath and its role, for a few decades in the eighteenth century, as a cultural center of Europe.

Drawing on freshly discovered documents and a variety of little-known contemporary published sources, Sloman illuminates artistic activity in Bath and Gainsborough’s part in it. She reveals how Gainsborough’s prominence as an artist and Bath’s as a cultural hub were intimately connected during a period in which the artist and his town flourished together.

Susan Sloman is an independent scholar. She was for ten years Keeper of Collections at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.

"Independent scholar Sloman has written the authoritative account of the critical period in English painter Thomas Gainsborough’s life and art, the 16 years he worked in Bath. . . . Thoroughly researched and exhaustively detailed. . . . A watershed for understanding [Gainsborough’s] artistic development in Bath as well as the importance of the period in his entire career. Extensive bibliography; admirable reproductions; useful appendixes. A fundamental work for any future research on Gainsborough. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty."—Choice
ISBN: 9780300097115
Publication Date: August 11, 2002
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
272 pages, 9 x 11
105 b/w + 65 color illus.