Thomas Gainsborough

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Thomas Gainsborough
Landscape with Group of Figures Resting on a Hillside
Brown chalk, lead white and blue oil paint, varnished, on laid paper.
8 11/16 x 12 1/4 inches (220 x 309 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
III, 60

Watermark: illegible letters ?.
The unfinished state of this landscape makes visible its extraordinary technical sophistication and provides evidence of the process used by Gainsborough in the development of his celebrated varnished drawings. Mixing brown chalk and oil paint, Gainsborough first rapidly sketched the outlines of the composition, in which the trees and the human figures began to take shape, while barely indicating the background. He then varnished the paper to lend a more painterly tone to the strokes of chalk and an extra brightness to the oil paint. -- Exhibition Label, from "Thomas Gainsborough: Experiments in Drawings."

Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.
Associated names: 

Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.


Bolzoni, Marco S. Thomas Gainsborough : Experiments in Drawings. New York : The Morgan Library & Museum, 2018, p. 60, no. 7, repr.
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, III, 60.
Denison, Cara D., Evelyn J. Phimister, and Stephanie Wiles. Gainsborough to Ruskin : British Landscape Drawings and Watercolors from the Morgan Library. Ghent : Ludion, 1994, no. 39, repr.
Wiles, Stephanie. To Observe and Imagine : British Drawings, 1600-1900. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1998, no. 35.

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