Iain Gale on exhibitions
Friday 29 March 1996
During his lifetime, Gainsborough's drawings became prized as works of art in their own right, and one of the most fascinating aspects of this exhibition is its revelation of the copious number of contemporary copies which were passed off as his work.
Equally interesting are the stylistic comparisons afforded by also showing similar works by contemporaries, including Constable, Crome, Frost and Hoppner.
Gainsborough may have made his living by flattering the gentry, but his heart was ever in the country, sketching the landscape with a deftness which brings to life rural Georgian England. Having captured a scene on paper, he would often later work it up into an oil painting. It is testimony to his passion that the works were painted in his studio late into the night, using miniature landscapes constructed from lichen, lumps of coal and pieces of broccoli.
Courtauld Institute, The Strand, WC2, (0171-873 2582) to 26 May
Left: Gainsborough's `Wooded Landscape with Herdsmen driving Cattle over a Bridge'
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