5 June 2006
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE DEANE F. JOHNSON, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE JOHNSON CHARITABLE REMAINDER UNITRUST AND THE DEANE F. JOHNSON ALZHEIMER'S RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (1727-1788)
A wooded river landscape with figures in a boat and buildings
black, red and white chalk with grey and brown wash on blue paper, varnished on both sides, watermark Strasburg Lily and 'I VILLEDARY'
8½ x 11¾ in. (21.7 x 30 cm.)
Edward Levett. Mrs. C. Vene. W. Hetherington. The Hetherington Collection; Christie's, London, 14 February 1978, lot 45, where purchased by Davis & Long, New York, for the present collection.
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J. Hayes, Gainsborough Drawings a Supplement to the Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1970, p. 384, cat. no. 926, pl. 13a.
This present drawing is an example of the technique of varnishing on both sides that Gainsborough described in his letter to William Jackson in around 1773. Gainsborough experimented in the 1770s with techniques that greatly enhanced the pictorial quality of his work on paper. The introduction of a new depth and weight to his drawing style was in keeping with a common desire amongst contemporary watercolourists to elevate the status of their work. In 1772 at the Royal Academy he exhibited two large varnished drawings and the catalogue described them as 'in imitation of oil painting'.
John Hayes dated the present drawing to the early to mid 1770s and it is one of Gainsborough's classical landscapes executed on blue paper. The treatment of the scalloped foliage is similar in technique to J. Hayes, op.cit., no. 359, pl. 127.
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