Thomas Gainsborough
Sir Henry Bate-Dudley, Bart. c.1780

Artwork details

Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
Sir Henry Bate-Dudley, Bart.
Date c.1780
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2235 x 1499 mm
Lent from a private collection 1989
On long term loan
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1780

Display caption

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.

February 2016

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