Landscape with sheep and cattle on the bank of a stream
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)
Chalk (black), stump on paper
Width: 38 cm; Height: 28.5 cm;
Acquisition (source, method, date)
Witt, Robert Clermont (Sir); bequest; 1952
About this work
Intimate scenes like this one, with its incidental details of a bridge and cattle, show Gainsborough’s sensitivity to the work of seventeenth-century Dutch artists such as Nicolaes Berchem and Jacob van Ruisdael. Gainsborough was especially familiar with Dutch landscapes because he is documented in the 1740s as restoring such paintings.
Energetic lines of black chalk capture the landscape and cattle. In places they were rubbed with a stump (a cylindrical tool covered with smooth paper that blends the chalk marks) to render the softer tones of the distant church and hills. The attention to everyday detail is characteristic of Gainsborough’s landscapes, even when they represent ideal pastoral scenes.
(Permanent collection label)
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Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London