my18thcenturysource: Mary and Margaret Gainsborough Thomas…

Monday, June 11th, 2018


Mary and Margaret Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough had favourite subjects to paint: landscapes, pups and other animals and his daughters, who were cute as fuck. In his mind, he wanted them both to become artists and educated them well, but neither of them got really into art (sorry, dad). He sent them to Blacklands School in Chelsea, they learnt to draw and Margaret even became an amateur musician.

Mary (baptised 1750-1826) and Margaret (baptised 1751-1820) always lived together, except for a brief time during Mary’s (awful) marriage with oboe player Johann Christian Fischer in 1780 (stupid sexy musicians). Margaret remained unmarried and lived in west London, where she cared of Mary, who suffered from severe mental illness.

I love that Gainsborough painted his daughters so much (I mean, I think he made more portraits of them than my parents took photos of my sister and me when we were little) because them both are some of the few people that we can see grow up through art, without being royals, from cute little kids into fashionable women.

Images from top:

  1. “The Painter’s Two Daughters”. ca. 1758, Thomas Gainsborough, Victoria & Albert Museum.
  2. “The Painter’s Daughters chasing a Butterfly“; ca. 1756, Thomas Gainsborough, The National Gallery.
  3. “The Painter’s Daughters with a Cat”, ca. 1760-61, Thomas Gainsborough, The National Gallery.
  4. “Portrait of the Artist’s Daughters”, ca. 1763-64, Thomas Gainsborough, Worcester Art Museum.
  5. “Margaret and Mary Gainsborough”, ca. 1770-74, Thomas Gainsborough, Private Collection.
  6. “The Artist’s Daughter Margaret“, ca. 1772, Thomas Gainsborough, Tate Museum.
  7. “The Artist’s Daughter Mary”, 1777, Thomas Gainsborough, Tate Museum.

Also: The National Portrait Gallery in London will host an exhibition in late 2018 and early 2019 about Gainsborough family, where we’ll be able to see all of his daughters portraits together, along with other members of the family (yes, that includes the dogs). Read more about it HERE. (Books a February London trip).

Reposted from

Pretty dresses at the Getty, first of three. From the Getty…

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Pretty dresses at the Getty, first of three. From the Getty placard:

Portrait of Anne, Countess of Chesterfield (1777-1778)

Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727-1788)

Oil on canvas

When this portrait of Anne Thistlewaite (1759-1798) was exhibited by Gainsborough in 1778, critics agreed that he had captured the sitter’s aristocratic refinement. While one contemporary observer found the hands and drapery to be unsubstantial and unfinished, others recognized that when the portrait is viewed from a distance, the loose brushwork coalesces into rich, luxurious textures and forms.

[me again]

Someone (*cough* Ian *cough*) asked what was up with all the art museum posts lately. It’s just… I’m like this. Sorry if it’s too much.

In the interest of hanging onto any followers I can, I’ve tried using the queue. So: Only one of these per day for the next few days. Or, well, only one queued one. The obsessive impulse could certainly strike again in the meantime. But I’ll try to queue them if I can. These things have been hanging around on a wall somewhere for hundreds of years; I should be able to wait a few days before posting them.

Should be.

Reposted from