Thomas GainsboroughSunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream c.1760

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Artwork details

Thomas Gainsborough (1727‑1788)
Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream
Date c.1760
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 1435 x 1537 mm
Acquisition Presented by Robert Vernon 1847
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1730


Sunset: Carthorses Drinking at a Stream is one of several paintings by Gainsborough on the theme of peasants going to or from market. The family here are travelling home in a country wagon and are shown in a moment of repose after the labours of the day; the drover on the footbridge halts by a stream to allow the horses to quench their thirst. The landscape is bathed in a warm, golden light and the glowing sunset adds a suitable poetic note to the tranquil scene.

Gainsborough's move from his native Suffolk to the fashionable spa town of Bath in 1759 coincided with a change of style in his painting. Whereas the influence of the Dutch manner is apparent in his earlier landscapes, with their close observation of nature and ordered compositions, those painted in Bath, and subsequently in London, became more pastoral and poetic… (read more)

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