Gainsborough, Thomas
Thomas Gainsborough self portrait, 1759

Thomas Gainsborough FRSA (christened 14 May 1727 – 2 August 1788) was an English portrait and landscape painter. He was the youngest son of John Gainsborough, a weaver in Suffolk. He left home in 1740 to study art in London with Hubert Gravelot, Francis Hayman, and William Hogarth. In 1746, he married Margaret Burr, and they became parents of two daughters. He moved to Bath in 1759 where fashionable society patronised him, and he began exhibiting in London. In 1769, he became a founding member of the Royal Academy, but his relationship with the organization was thorny and he sometimes withdrew his work from exhibition. Gainsborough moved to London in 1774, and painted portraits of the king and queen, but the king was obliged to name as royal painter Gainsborough's rival Joshua Reynolds. In his last years, Gainsborough painted relatively simple landscapes and is credited (with Richard Wilson) as the originator of the 18th century British landscape school. Gainsborough died of cancer in 1788 and is interred at St. Anne's Church, Kew, Surrey. He painted quickly and his later pictures are characterised by a light palette and easy strokes. He preferred landscapes to portraits. Cecil Kellaway portrayed Gainsborough in the 1945 film Kitty. --from Wikipedia

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