Thomas Gainsborough

Churchyard with Donkeys

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
Graphite on paper
Support: 157 × 196 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Technique and condition

Graphite sketch on laid paper. A churchyard scene with two donkeys in the foreground next to some gravestones. The church appears to be partially a ruin with trees in the background. The loose sketching style in soft graphite is characteristic of Gainsborough.

The support is in moderate condition, slightly yellowed overall with spots of foxing dotted throughout. There are some small damages. The media is soft graphite applied in loose strokes and heavily in the foreground. It appears to be in sound condition. There is a gum glaze over the whole support that may have been applied by the artist as a fixative or to increase the saturation of the heavily applied areas of graphite. This gum is likely to have contributed to the overall yellowing of the support as well as poor handling and storage conditions.

Katharine Lockett
May 2002

You might like

In the shop