Network Books


Lives of Gainsborough, by Philip Thicknesse, William Jackson and Sir Joshua Reynolds

Lives of Gainsborough, by Philip Thicknesse, William Jackson and Sir Joshua Reynolds


Paperback – 145 x 115 mm – 128 pages

Over 40 pages of illustrations

One of the best-loved painters in English history, Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was also one of the most personally engaging. Bon vivant, wit, amateur and enthusiastic musician, he charmed sitters and friends alike. His ebullient, if not always reliable, personality comes to life in these two memoirs, written by two very different friends.

Philip Thicknesse, one of the most eccentric figures of the eighteenth century (he directed that after his death his hand should be chopped off and sent to his son as a reminder of the filial duties the son had scanted) was a close friend and shrewd observer of the painter whom he claimed to have discovered.

William Jackson, a distinguished musician and connoisseur, also claimed to have been the first to see Gainsborough’s talent, but after falling out with the painter over his reckless lifestyle, wrote an affectionate but clear eyed memoir.

Both these essays give an immediate and lively picture not just of Gainsborough and the impact his increasingly daring and poetic style had on the art of the period, but also of the man and his times. As an introduction to Gainsborough they could hardly be bettered.

Neither of these texts has been reprinted in full since their original publication. They are published here with a full complement of illustrations. Anthony Mould, a leading independent scholar of Gainsborough and the English eighteenth century, has edited the texts and written the illuminating introduction.

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