The Letters of Thomas Gainsborough

Edited by John Hayes

View Inside Price: $24.00


February 16, 2016
240 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
80 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300223033
Paper

Also Available in:
Cloth

Published for the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art

Once described as “brilliant but eccentric . . . too licentious to be published,” Gainsborough’s letters delighted his friends and they delight us. This book gathers together all the known letters by the illustrious eighteenth-century British painter and connects them with a narrative of Gainsborough’s life that gives the correspondence a biographical coherence.

The letters reveal a man who was generous and warm-hearted, devoted to his family and friends, convivial, often dissipated yet modest and God-fearing, usually sensible in his own affairs and always so in the advice he gave to others. We also learn a great deal about Gainsborough’s painting: his methods and techniques, his attitude toward portraiture and landscape, his relationships with his patrons, the prices he charged, his concern about how his pictures were hung, and his ambivalence about the value of the Royal Academy exhibitions. Running through the letters, too, is his love of music and his friendship with musicians. The 110 letters, which include correspondence with Gainsborough’s friends and relatives, are supplemented by thirty-six documents in the artist’s own hand, chiefly instructions to his bankers and receipts for payments from clients. Illustrations are included of all the people to whom Gainsborough wrote whose portraits exist and of friends and works of art described in the letters. More than 300 notes identify these people and help to explain the text.

John Hayes, director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1974 to 1994, has written extensively on the art of Thomas Gainsborough.
The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
The Diary of Joseph Farington

Volume 3, September 1796-December 1798, Volume 4, January 1799-July 1801

Joseph Farington; Edited by Kathryn Cave

View details
The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages

Volume 3, The Voyage of the Resolution and the Discovery, 1776-1780

Rüdiger Joppien and Bernard Smith

View details
The English Journey

Journal of a Visit to France and Britain in 1826

Karl Friedrich Schinkel; Edited by David Bindman and Gottfr

...
View details
The Diary of Joseph Farington

Volume 9, January 1808 - June 1809, Volume 10, July 1809 - December 1810

Joseph Farington; Edited by Kathryn Cave

View details
The Diary of Joseph Farington

Volume 11, January 1811 - June 1812, Volume 12, July 1812 - December 1813

Joseph Farington; Edited by Kathryn Cave

View details