Gainsborough, Thomas (Circle of)Beech Trees

Beech Trees
Black and white chalk drawing by Thomas Gainsborough (Circle Of) (1727-1788)

Gainsborough is one of the most renowned portrait and landscape painters of the 18th Century. An artist favoured by royalty, he was the contemporary rival of Sir Joshua Reynolds.
 
Despite the popularity of his portraits, landscape painting was his true passion. As a boy, he spent a great deal of time in the Suffolk countryside, sketching trees and cottages. His parents quickly recognised his artistic talent and arranged for him to study painting and engraving in London.
 
In 1760 Gainsborough moved to the up-market town of Bath, where he was commissioned to paint portraits of various members of the aristocracy. However, Gainsborough continued to make regular sketching tours of the surrounding countryside and his work became markedly more pastoral and poetic. An interesting duality occurred in his practice because although he was known to have sketched from nature, it is claimed that he built model landscapes in his studio, using sprigs of broccoli to represent trees, mirrors for lakes and coal, sand or clay for terrain.
 
In 1768 he was named one of the foundation members of the Royal Academy, exhibiting there annually until 1784.