Shanghai Art Museum (Shanghai, China): British Landscape
Gainsborough received very few commissions for landscape paintings; all those he exhibited were speculative works. The quiet solitude of this painting, with a drover leading a herd of cattle to water, is typical of Gainsborough's later landscapes. His own association of landscape painting with pastoral ease and tranquillity seemed to increase in his final years; he claimed: 'I'm sick of portraits and wish very much to take my Viol da Gamba [cello] and walk off to some sweet Village where I can paint landskips and enjoy the fag end of life in quietness and ease'.
Gallery label, September 2004