• Wooded Landscape with a Country Cart and Faggot Gatherers -

    Pen and brown ink and grey, green and pink washes, heightened with black chalk, on prepared paper, varnished

    22.1 by 31.0 cm., 8? by 12 ? inches



    Probably John Warde (1721-1775), Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent;

    Major John Roberts O?Brien Warde (b.1898), Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent;

    Thence by descent until 2010



    M.T. Ritchie, English Drawings: An Anthology, London 1935, pl.25;

    Mary Woodall, Gainsborough?s Landscape Drawings, London, 1939, p.131, no.344;

    John Hayes, The Drawings of Thomas Gainsborough, New Haven and London, 1970, vol. I, p.182, no.317;

    Timothy Clifford, Anthony Griffiths and Martin Royalton-Kisch, Gainsborough and Reynolds in the British Museum, exhibition catalogue, London 1978, p.15, under no.35;  John Hayes and Lindsay Stainton, Gainsborough Drawings, exhibition catalogue, 1983, pp.118-119, no.49



    Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art and elsewhere, Gainsborough Drawings, 1983, no.49


    Landscape drawings account for over three-quarters of Gainsborough?s output as a draughtsman, and make up some of his finest works. These drawings were done for his own pleasure, in varying degrees of finish, and using a range of different techniques. William Jackson, a friend of the artist and early biographer, noted that ?If I were to rest his reputation upon one point; it should be on his Drawings. . . . No man ever possessed methods so various in producing effects, and all excellent?. Overburdened with portrait commissions, Gainsborough seems to have turned to the freedom of landscape drawing as a means of relaxation. He was a prolific draughtsman, and while he apparently never sold any of his drawings, he is thought to have given away many of them as presents.


    The present drawing is dated by Hayes to the late 1760s and is typical of Gainsborough?s use of experimental techniques. He combines pen and ink and various coloured washes, heightens the drawings with white chalk and then varnishes the sheet to strengthen the image. Gainsborough?s experiments in technique became more and more complex and in a letter to Jackson in 1773 he explains his methods but demands of the recipient ?Swear now never to impart my secret to any one living? (see The Letters of Thomas Gainsborough, edited by John Hayes, 2001, p.111).


    This drawing includes many typical Gainsborough motifs ? the copse of trees with the effect of light achieved with white chalk, the woman and children gathering wood in the foreground which anticipate the subject matter of his ?fancy pictures? of the 1780s, and the horse and cart. The present work relates most closely to ?Wooded Landscape with a Boy reclining in a Cart? in the British Museum (see Gainsborough, exhibition catalogue edited by Michael Rosenthal and Martin Myrone, 2002, no.119, p.221) with its confident use of pen and ink and the motif of the horse and cart disappearing down a country track.

  • Coastal Scene with Boats -

    Grey and grey-black washes over traces of pencil heightened with scratching out

    27.5 by 35.9 cm., 10 ¾ by 14 inches



    With Albany Gallery, London;

    With Spinks, from whom purchased, 1960s;

    Burnett Family, London until 2014



    Octagon, Summer 1968, p. 17;

    John Hayes, The Drawings of Thomas Gainsborough, New Haven and London, 1970, vol. I, p.220, no.485


    This evocative late work by Gainsborough is a rare coastal view by the artist and has been in a private collection since the 1960s. Perhaps inspired by a sketching trip to the coast of Devon in 1779, Gainsborough exhibited two coastal views at the Royal Academy in 1781, `Coastal Scene’ is in the Westminster collection (see Gainsborough, exhibition catalogue edited by Michael Rosenthal and Martin Myrone, 2002, no. 56, pp.134-5, ill.) and an accompanying coastal view now at Anglesey Abbey. Both, like the present drawing, were invented views but were enthusiastically received by the critics. A writer in the Morning Chronicle described the two seascapes as `full of the cheerfulness of the best Flemish painters, the elegance and grace of the first Italian artists, and have as much truth and correctness as has fallen to the share of any subjects of this sort.’ Horace Walpole describes them in a letter to William Mason as `so free and natural that one steps back for fear of being splashed’ (The Letters of Horace Walpole, Oxford 1904, vol. II, p.439). Gainsborough was certainly inviting comparison with the seventeenth century Dutch artists such as Jacob van Ruisdael and Van Goyen who were so popular at the time in England and the strong diagonals and dramatic light and weather are reminiscent of de Loutherbourg.


    This drawing differs from the oil in the Westminster collection only in that the rock in the centre of this work has been transformed into a figure group in the oil and clearly dates from the same period. Another oil of a coastal view, `Seashore with Fishermen’, also dating from the early 1780s is in the National Gallery of Art, Washington (op. cit., 2002, p. 254-5, no. 151). The only other recorded drawing of a coastal subject is in the Detroit Institute of Arts (see Hayes, op. cit., no. 486, p. 221, ill. pl. 152) and it is a near replica of the Westminster oil.

  • A Country Track with Houses -

    Signed with gold monogram lower right

    Watercolour and black chalk over pencil on laid paper

    23.2 by 29.9 cm., 9 by 11 ¾ in.



    With Anthony Mould, London;

    Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, 14th November 1996, lot 65



    Hugh Belsey, `A Second Supplement to John Hayes's The Drawings of Thomas Drawings', Master Drawings, no. 46, 2008, p.488, no.1043

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