129
129

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE COLIN HUNTER

Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
A RUSTIC SCENE WITH A SHEPHERDESS AND HER ADMIRER
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 103,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT
129

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE COLIN HUNTER

Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
A RUSTIC SCENE WITH A SHEPHERDESS AND HER ADMIRER
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 103,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Drawings

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New York

Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.
SUDBURY 1727 - 1788 LONDON
A RUSTIC SCENE WITH A SHEPHERDESS AND HER ADMIRER
Black chalk heightened with white on blue paper, trimmed at the corners
235 by 205 mm; 9 1/4  by 8 in
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Henry Scipio Reitlinger (d. 1950),
by whose estate sold, London, Sotheby's, 6 March 1975, lot 226, to Morton Morris;
from whom aquired in 1977 by the late Colin Hunter (1926-2013)

Exhibited

Washington, National Gallery of Art, Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Gallery, and New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, Gainsborough Drawings, 1983-84, no. 33 (catalogue by J. Hayes and L. Stainton);
London, Park Lane Hotel, World of Watercolours Fair Loan Exhibition in Aid of Gainsborough's House, Sudbury, 1987

Literature

J. Hayes, Gainsborough's Landscape Painting, London 1982, vol. 1, p. 148, and no. 100;
Idem, 'Gainsborough Drawings: A Supplement to the Catalogue Raisonne,' Master Drawings, 1983, vol. XXI, no. 4, p. 390, no. 978

Catalogue Note

In this rare figurative drawing, Gainsborough depicts an elegant shepherdess, her swain, a dog and a lamb in a woodland glade.  The work dates to the first years of the 1760s, a time when the young artist was establishing himself as one of the leading portrait painters of his generation.  In 1759, when still only thirty-two, he moved from provincial Ipswich to fashionable Bath and, two years later, he exhibited his first painting at the Society of Artists in London.

Despite this success with the brush, he loved to draw and regarded his works on paper as an important part of his oeuvre. These drawings were much admired by his contemporaries and his friend William Jackson (d. 1830) went as far as to declare that: ‘If I were to rest his [Gainsborough’s] reputation upon one point it should be on his drawings. No man ever possessed methods so various in producing effect, and all were excellent.’1

Stylistically the present lot has been compared to Gainsborough’s Portrait of Carl Fredrick Abel, a drawing that also dates to the early 1760s and is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London.2  Lindsey Stainton and Dr. Hayes have also highlighted that the work is perhaps ‘as close as Gainsborough ever came to the French style of rustic galanterie’,3 a genre mastered by artists such as François Boucher.

This drawing was completely unknown to scholars until its appearance at auction at Sotheby’s in 1975, where it was sold by the estate of Henry Scipio Reitlinger. Reitlinger was a passionate collector of ceramics, paintings, prints and drawings.  After his death in 1950, much of his collection was given to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.  The drawing's early provenance is unknown but it has been suggested that it may have descended through the artist’s family to his daughter Margaret.  Her collection was dispersed at Christie’s in 1831.  The work was acquired in 1977 by the late Colin Hunter, a distinguished collector of British drawings.

We are grateful to Hugh Belsey, M.B.E. for his help in cataloguing this lot.

1.  J. Hayes and L. Stainton, Gainsborough Drawings, exh. cat., Washington 1983, p. 15
2.  ibid., p. 86
3.  ibid.

 

Old Master Drawings

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