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  • Thomas Gainsborough
    May 14, 1727 - Aug 2, 1788
  • John Bragge - Thomas Gainsborough was an English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. He surpassed his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds to become the dominant British portraitist of the second half of the 18th century. He painted quickly, and the works of his maturity are characterised by a light palette and easy strokes. He preferred landscapes to portraits, and is credited (with Richard Wilson) as the originator of the 18th-century British landscape school. Gainsborough was a founding member of the Royal Academy.
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John Bragge
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  • John Bragge

  • Thomas Gainsborough
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  • 1767
    Oil on canvas
    74 cm (29.13 in.) x 61.5 cm (24.21 in.)
    Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, United Kingdom.

    The portrait of John Bragge was painted during the first decade of Gainsborough's residence at Bath, where he had transferred his practice after failing to secure sufficient employment in his native Suffolk.

    The clearly delineated features of Bragge, accentuated by the strong lighting of the head and an accomplished breadth and firmness of modelling, are characteristic of Gainsborough's portraiture at this period in his career. John Bragge was a Dorsetshire countryman who married in Bath in 1762. He rebuilt the family home, Sadborow House, and became a JP and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. This portrait is the first Gainsborough acquired by the museum.

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Other paintings by Thomas Gainsborough:

A Bearded Man in a Cap (after Rembrandt)
A Bearded Man in a Cap (after Rembrandt)
A Boy with a Cat - Morning
A Boy with a Cat - Morning
A Coastal Landscape
A Coastal Landscape
A Country Road
A Country Road
Thomas GainsboroughGainsborough was, with Reynolds (his main rival), the leading portrait painter in England in the later 18th century. The feathery brushwork of his mature work and rich sense of colour contribute to the enduring popularity of his portraits. Unlike Reynolds, he avoids references to Italian Renaissance art or the Antique, and shows his sitters in fashionable contemporary dress.

He was a founding member of the Royal Academy, though he later quarrelled with it over the hanging of his pictures. He became a favourite painter of George III and his family.

He was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, the son of a wool manufacturer. He trained in London, and set up in practice in Ipswich about 1752. In 1759 he moved to Bath, a fashionable spa town, attracting many clients for his portraits. He settled in London in 1774. His private inclination was for landscape and rustic scenes, and his amusing letters record his impatience with his clients' demands for portraits.