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Abel Moysey was a well-known doctor based in the fashionable spa town of Bath, where Gainsborough was also worked. Gainsborough painted this portrait in lieu of doctor’s fees, presumably for the treatment he received after a bout of venereal disease, contracted from prostitutes in London in 1763.  

Moysey is shown looking dreamily into the distance, as if he was unaware of being painted. He is every bit the ‘man of feeling’.

September 2004