Johan Zoffany

Thomas Gainsborough

c.1772

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 197 x 171 mm
frame: 315 x 290 x 50 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the family of Richard J. Lane 1896
Reference
N01487

Display caption

This study of Thomas Gainsborough was probably made as part of Zoffany's preparations for an elaborate group portrait of members of the new Royal Academy of Arts, which he painted in 1771-2. Gainsborough was one of the Academy's founder members.

In spite of this study, Gainsborough was not in fact included in Zoffany's final painting. He disliked the Academy's self-importance and formality, and his absence from Zoffany's final picture probably reflects his half-hearted relationship with it.

Gallery label, September 2004