Thomas Gainsborough

A Macaroni with a Muff

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
Graphite on paper
Support: 182 × 149 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

This slight sketch was probably made
by Gainsborough during the 1740s, when
he was working in London. The large fur muff which the young man carries has
led to him being viewed as a 'macaroni', someone noted for his pretentious behaviour and flamboyant dress sense.


The figure may have been modelled upon
an articulated doll, or 'lay figure', rather
than a living model. Gainsborough often drew from lay figures at this time. The
man's lolling posture echoes figures by Francis Hayman, an artist who exerted
a considerable influence on Gainsborough during his formative years.

Gallery label, May 2002

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