Thomas Gainsborough | Works and Artists | Mrs. Sheridan


Thomas Gainsborough (1727, Sudbury – 1788, London)

Thomas Gainsborough is one of the best-known English painters of the 18th century. He was a founding member of the Royal Academy in 1768.

The themes of his works are focused mainly on portraits and landscapes.

He used in his works mainly a palette of soft colors conjugated with browns. The diaphanous brushstrokes are primordial for the painter, transmitting rhythm to the color and the form.

Let’s look at Thomas Gainsborough through an excerpt from the analysis of  Yolanda Silva  in the Online Course ANALYSING ART

 Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan


1785 e 1787.  National Gallery , Washington (EUA)


Portrait of Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Elizabeth Ann Linley Sheridan), aged 31, integrated in a bucolic landscape.

She is surrounded by trees, dressed as a lady of high society and sitting on a rock. The fabric of her fine garments and her wavy hair are floating in the wind, like the leaves on the crests of the trees. In the background, the sunset is slightly obscured by a distant solitary tree.

The posture of the depicted woman is in accordance with the melancholy of the scene.

The painter uses quick brushstrokes, often only suggesting details (note the hands, fingers tangled in the silk scarf: they are defined by summary brushstrokes only giving a slight suggestion of form). The diaphaneity of the strokes is essential to the painter, conveying rhythm to both colour and shape.

Detalhe 1_Thomas_Gainsborough_-_Mrs._Richard_Brinsley_Sheridan_web

Brushstrokes are almost careless as though to give the idea of ​​merging the delicate silk scarf and the fingers of the woman.

The composition line is diagonal, defined by the seated figure. The design excels for its diaphanous and free lines, organising the composition around Mrs. Sheridan’s face (and thus also eyes and expression).

Detalhe 3_ Thomas_Gainsborough_-_Mrs._Richard_Brinsley_Sheridan_web



The dominant colours are autumnal and are distributed diffusely, suggesting the romantic idea of ​​melancholy that, according to reports of the time, matched Mrs. Sheridan’s temperament.  The faltering light of a setting sun (left) reinforces this idea.

Detalhe 5_Thomas_Gainsborough_-_Mrs._Richard_Brinsley_Sheridan_web


To know in detail the biography of Thomas Gainsborough and his works: Web Gallery of Art


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