I.H. Wright, published by Longman, 2 September 1816.
This exceptional painting was purchased ten years after the artist’s death by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater – the richest nobleman in England and one of the greatest art collectors in British history – for the celebrated Bridgewater Gallery in 1978. The Duke was the leading member of the syndicate, together with his nephew, Lord Gower, and the Earl of Carlisle, that bought the famous Orléans Collection, and his gallery was praised by the German art historian Gustav Waagen in 1854 for its variety as being in the 'first rank among all the collections of paintings in England' (see Literature). Of this picture Waagen commented: 'Gainsborough – Cows in a meadow. Of extreme lightness and picturesque beauty. In the forms of the cows we recognise the influence of Cuyp.'
1 Inv. no. 31.56; see Hayes 1982, vol. II, pp. 469–71, cat. no. 119, reproduced p. 469.
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