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Crossing the Ford

Thomas Gainsborough RA (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

circa 1750

Materials

Oil on canvas

Measurements

323 x 359 mm (12 3/4 x 14 1/8 in)

Place of origin

England

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Collection

Upton House, Warwickshire (Accredited Museum)

NT 446672

Caption

This small landscape is Gainsborough’s earliest surviving landscape painting. It is not wholly successful: the composition is unbalanced and various aspects are awkwardly modelled. However, he has managed to convey atmosphere with some sensitivity. The influence of Dutch artists, such as Wynants, can be seen here, particularly in the relationship of sky to landscape. The picture was one of a number of Gainsborough’s small, early landscapes which came into the possession of his Ipswich friend, Joshua Kirby, and which may have been a gift from the artist.

Summary

Oil painting on canvas, Crossing the Ford by Thomas Gainsborough RA (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788), circa 1750. A peasant is riding a donkey and driving a cow, calf and sheep across a stream; a second donkey is lying down at the left beneath a sandhill, over the brow of which is a thatched cottage among trees; water-meadows right, with the stream, crossed by wooden bridge, winding into the distance.

Provenance

Reverend H. Scott Trimmer (who may have inherited it from Gainborough's Ipswich friend, Joshua Kirby); Trimmer sale, Christie's 17 March 1860, lot 93: bought by Rutley; George Cavendish-Bentinck (1821 - 1891) by 1890; his sale, Christie's 11 July 1891, lot 551: bought by Martin Colnaghi (1821 - 1908); Amy, Mrs Martin Colnaghi sale, Robinson and Fisher, 20 November 1908, lot 183: bought by Banks; bought 1st Lord Bearstead by 1919; given with Upton House to the National Trust by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882 – 1948) shortly before his death, in 1948

Credit line

Upton House, The Bearsted Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

Thomas Gainsborough RA (Sudbury 1727 - London 1788), artist

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