Thomas Gainsborough’s (1727–88) London years, from 1774 to 1788, were the pinnacle and conclusion of his career. They coincided with the establishment of the Royal Academy, of which Gainsborough was a founding member, and the city’s ascendance as a center for the arts. This is a meticulously researched and readable account of how Gainsborough designed his home and studio and maintained a growing schedule of influential patrons, making a place for himself in the art world of late-18th-century London. New material about Gainsborough’s technique is based on examinations of his pictures and firsthand accounts by studio visitors. His fractious relationship with the Royal Academy and its exhibition culture is reexamined through the works he sent to its annual shows. The full range of Gainsborough’s art, from fashionable portraits to landscapes and fancy pictures, is addressed in this major contribution, not just to the study of a great artist, but to 18th-century studies in general.
Distributed for Modern Art Press
“Sloman is at her most illuminating when discussing the practical realities of studio practice [and] makes a convincing case for the significance of the relationship between Gainsborough and the viola-da-gamba player Carl Friedrich Abel.”—Kirsten Tambling, Apollo
“Gainsborough in London offers a scholarly and readable appraisal of the artist’s masterpieces....It is, however, Sloman’s penetration of the man’s character and emotions that is most rewarding.”—Christopher Masters, World of Interiors
“We must thank and congratulate Sloman on completing the second volume of what can only be described as the work of a lifetime. With her unparalleled knowledge of the artist and his œuvre, her curatorial experience, her archival discoveries and, not least, her visual acuity, she has enlarged our understanding and appreciation of an artist we thought we knew well until we completed our reading of both Gainsborough in Bath and Gainsborough in London. Together they have made an enduring contribution not only to Gainsborough scholarship but also to the study of British art of the eighteenth century.”—Duncan Robinson, The Burlington Magazine