Thomas Gainsborough

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Thomas Gainsborough
1727-1788
Lady Walking in a Garden
ca. 1785
Black and white chalks with smudging, worked wet and dry, watercolor, on laid paper.
19 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches (495 x 312 mm)
Purchase.
III, 63b
Provenance: 
Margaret Burr Gainsborough (ca. 1728-1798), the artist's wife; Margaret Gainsborough (1751-1820), the artist's daughter; either Henry Briggs (possibly his sale, London, Christie's, 25 February 1831, lot 115) or Sophia Lane, the artist's niece; her son, Richard James Lane (1800-1872); Charles Frederick Huth; his sale, London, Christie's, 19 March 1904, lot 7 (to Vicars); J. Pierpont Morgan (no mark; see Lugt 1509); by descent to J.P. Morgan; acquired from his estate, 1943.
Bibliography: 

Bolzoni, Marco S. Thomas Gainsborough : Experiments in Drawings. New York : The Morgan Library & Museum, 2018, p. 71, no. 12, repr.
Wiles, Stephanie. To Observe and Imagine : British Drawings, 1600-1900. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1998, no. 37, repr. On cover.
From Leonardo to Pollock: Master drawings from the Morgan Library. New York: Morgan Library, 2006, cat. no. 59, p. 126-127.

Notes: 

Watermark: none visible through lining.
Probably for the Richmond Water-Walk. Formerly called Portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.
This drawing belongs to a set of five full-length figure studies, all similar in technique and size, in which the artist depicted the same model in different poses. The woman's translucent silk dress is a technical tour de force intended to capture the viewer's eye in an instant. First preparing the paper with a yellow ground, Gainsborough superimposed fine veils of chalk applied both wet and dry, imitating the feathery brushstrokes that characterize his paintings. The contrast between the dark background and the sparkling white and yellow chalks shapes the vibrant garment. -- Exhibition Label, from "Thomas Gainsborough: Experiments in Drawings."
Formerly identified as a portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, this powerful drawing by Gainsborough is one of a group of preparatory studies for the Richmond Water-Walk, commissioned by King George III (1738-1820). Although probably never executed, the painting was intended as a companion piece to the Mall, now at the Frick Collection, New York. While the face is not particularly individualized, much attention is given to the fashion of the time, notably the large broad-brimmed picture hat and the hairstyle with loose curls flowing down on both sides of the neck. -- Exhibition Label, from "Life Lines: Portrait Drawings from Dürer to Picasso."

Associated names: 

Gainsborough, Margaret Burr, approximately 1728-1798 former owner.
Gainsborough, Margaret, 1751-1820, former owner.
Briggs, Henry, former owner.
Lane, Sophia, former owner.
Lane, Richard, 1800-1872, former owner.
Huth, Charles Frederick, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.
Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943, former owner.

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