Gainsborough in London

Modern Art Press. Apr. 2021. 412p. ISBN 9780956800787. $45. FINE ARTS
Art historian Sloman (Gainsborough in Bath; Gainsborough’s Landscapes), an expert on the art of Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88), focuses on the painter’s and work in London during the last period of his life. From 1774 to 1788, Gainsborough was at the pinnacle of his career; he established his studio and home in the heart of London and at the center of the art trade, not far from the Royal Academy, of which he was a founding member. Sloman describes Gainsborough’s technique, achieved through a lightness of touch and airy brushstrokes, as well as his practice of working in restricted light, which resulted in a shimmering liquidity of paint on the canvas. Before his rift with the Royal Academy in 1784 (over the placement of his paintings in an exhibition), Gainsborough took advantage of his position and cultivated social connections that led to commissions, including portraits of the royal family, musicians, actors, and wealthy members of London society.
VERDICT While it is a scholarly work, this accessible and fastidiously researched book will appeal to readers interested in Gainsborough or the cultural life of Georgian England.
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