Display caption

Gainsborough famously wrote that he was ‘sick’ of portrait painting, the main source of his income as an artist, and would much rather ‘take my Viol da Gamba and walk off to some sweet Village where I can paint Landskips’. His professed love of landscape is reflected in pictures like this. But we can interpret such images as being more than just personal. A taste for landscape was an important element of the late 18th-century culture of ‘sensibility’ and Gainsborough’s style of painting emphasises the delicacy and spontaneity associated with being a fashionable ‘man of feeling’.

February 2016