A & A art and architecture spacer courtauld institute of art spacer
quick search advanced search browse temp folder
Portrait of Mrs Gainsborough
enlarge image zoom image

Portrait of Mrs Gainsborough

Circa 1778

Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788)

Oil on canvas

Height: 102.5 cm ( frame ); Depth: 9 cm ( frame ); Width: 90 cm ( frame ); Width: 63.8 cm ( canvas ); Height: 76.6 cm ( canvas );

Acquisition (source, method, date)
Courtauld, Samuel; gift; 1932

About this work
Margaret Burr married Gainsborough in 1746 and this portrait may have been painted to celebrate her fiftieth birthday. Her direct gaze is striking for its suggestion of intimacy between painter and sitter. Her pose derives from a classical sculpture of pudicity (meaning modesty or chastity); a witty reference to the virtuous fidelity of a wife. The oval shape formed by the mantle also suggests a subtle, personalised version of the painted architectural ovals that frame more formal 18th- century portraits. (Permanent collection label)

This work is on display
While we make every effort to ensure this information is correct, displays are subject to last-minute changes.

Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

spacer spacer spacer spacer