We have assembled some of our finest Gainsborough drawings from the permanent collection for our Collection Highlights. As a trainee artist in London during the 1740s, Gainsborough acquired his skills through the burgeoning drawing academies and printmaking studios. Gainsborough studied under Hubert-François Gravelot, who had set up a practice in London before returning to France in 1745. The superiority of the French teaching of drawing had a great impact on Gainsborough, and indeed the entire British school.
The Gainsborough’s House permanent collection encompasses the artist’s whole career, from early portraits and landscapes painted in Suffolk during the 1750s, to later works from his Bath and London periods of the 1760s, 70s and 80s.
The collection of works on paper includes drawings by Gainsborough and his contemporaries, as well as prints by or after Gainsborough and other eighteenth-century artists. There is a selection of rare books and manuscripts from the period, including a number of Gainsborough’s letters.
We also have artefacts and items that formerly belonged to Gainsborough, including his studio cabinet, swordstick, paint scraper and pocket-watch.
The permanent collection is augmented by several loans of paintings and drawings from public and private collections.
The majority of paintings, drawings and prints are now published online and can be accessed through the ‘Search the collection’ portal. We are currently cataloguing and digitising other collection items and these will be added to the database in due course. Please click on the links below for an overview of each collection category.