- Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
- Oil paint on canvas
- Support: 2235 x 1499 mm
- Lent from a private collection 1989
On long term loan
The Reverend Henry Bate (1745–1824) who assumed the name Bate-Dudley in 1784, was a tough-minded journalist and newspaper editor, as well as an Anglican parson. He had famously got into a fight with some young men of fashion in Vauxhall Gardens, earning him the nickname ‘The Fighting Parson’. For this portrait, his friend Gainsborough has included an adoring dog and an outdoor setting to emphasise the idea that he was a nature-loving ‘man of feeling’. The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1780. As a journalist, Bate-Dudley did much to promote Gainsborough’s reputation through positive exhibition reviews.
Gallery label, February 2016
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