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.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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