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Gainsborough Dupont (1754-1797) was the eldest son of Gainsborough's sister Sarah, and Philip Dupont. Apprenticed to Gainsborough from 1772 until 1788, the year of the elder artist's death, Dupont was the only assistant Gainsborough ever employed; for unlike Reynolds, he neither ran a large studio nor trained large numbers of pupils. Dupont painted pictures in Gainsborough's style, and these are still sometimes confused with those of his master. Although this portrait is barely more than a sketch - the clothing for example is very summarily rendered - Gainsborough has nevertheless managed to convey a sense of his nephew's diffidence, remarked on by contemporaries.

August 2004