Thomas Gainsborough

Mr and Mrs Carter

c.1747–8

In Tate Britain

Artist
Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 912 x 710 mm
frame: 1092 x 896 x 92 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Simon Sainsbury 2006, accessioned 2008
Reference
T12609

Display caption

This is one of Gainsborough’s earliest works. William and Frances Carter were wealthy landowners who lived near Sudbury in south-east England where Gainsborough was born. This painting was made while Gainsborough was living in London, but returning to Sudbury regularly to visit family. Critics disagree about why the difference in William and Frances’s size appears exaggerated. Some argue that as an early work, this indicates a painter still developing his skills. Others suggest that the marked contrast in their size is intended to be comical.

Gallery label, July 2019

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