Thomas Gainsborough

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Thomas Gainsborough
(1727–1788)

Landscape with Horse and Cart, Figures, and Ruins

Stamped in gold with monogram at lower left, TG

Black chalk, watercolor and oil on paper; varnished
8 3/4 x 12 1/4 inches (222 x 311 mm)

Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910

III, 55
Item description: 

This landscape was executed in watercolor and oil and then varnished to resemble a painting. The artist began experimenting with this unusual technique in the early 1770s and exhibited a series of ten drawings at the Royal Academy in 1772. Here the blocklike ruins, whose sole raison d'être seems to be their shape and whiteness, are balanced by the thick white highlights on the vase and pedestal, horse cart, and reclining figures.

The eye is drawn from foreground to background along the curved path, and spatial depth is conveyed by means of graded washes ranging from greens and rusty ochers to pale gray-blues in the mountains.