After a year of research and debate, scholars are confident that an impressive drawing is by renowned 18th-century landscape and portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough.
Bainbridges Auctioneers announced last week that Dr. Lyndsay Stainton, who was for many years a curator at the British Museum, has confirmed that a previously unknown drawing was indeed the presentation sketch for a large painting by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). The drawing pictures a group of gypsies huddling close to a fire along the left side while a pair of tethered horses anchors the right. Rolling hills and a distant sunset invite the viewer to recede deeply into the imagined narrative. Measuring 22.5 x 32.2 cm, the charcoal and gouache drawing is superb in its evocation of Gainsborough’s feathery brushwork, so characteristic of his mature landscapes.

Thomas Gainsborough, “Gypsy Encampment, Sunset (back),” charcoal & gouache on paper, 22.5 x 32.2 cm. Bainbridges Auctioneers

The drawing has impeccable provenance and was sold by Bainbridges Auctioneers last Thursday, July 2, with an estimate of £20,000-£30,000, though its hammer price remains unconfirmed. The painting established to have been the drawing’s culmination — titled “Gypsy Encampment, Sunset,” circa 1778-80 — now hangs at Tate Britain, London.
To learn more, visit Bainbridges Auctioneers.

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