Thomas Gainsborough

Lady Bate-Dudley

c.1787

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In Tate Britain
Artist
Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 2210 x 1450 mm
Collection
Lent from a private collection 1989
On long term loan
Reference
L01439

Display caption

Mary Bate-Dudley was married to Gainsborough’s friend and champion, Henry Bate-Dudley. She’s shown here in a romantic woodland setting, leaning on a classical pedestal and an urn. Her pose is languid yet statuesque and the gesture of her left hand suggests a refined sensibility. Unusually in Gainsborough’s art, Lady Bate-Dudley’s head is shown in profile. This is a dramatic ploy intended to elevate the painting beyond the everyday world of conventional portraiture to the realm of High Art.

Gallery label, February 2016

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