The present landscape relates closely to a work of very similar dimensions, once owned by Ralph Allen (1694-1764) of Prior Park, Claverton, near Bath, that Hayes dates to c. 1759-62 (op. cit., p. 414). Allen was a friend and patron of the artist who had moved to Bath soon after 1759.
Although Hayes in his catalogue of Gainsborough's landscapes appears to refer to the present work as a 'copy formerly on the New York art market', there is no evidence to suggest that he examined it in the original. There are, in fact, a number of differences between the two works, such as the absence of reeds at the front edge of the pond in the present composition, as well as other minor variations throughout. It is possible, therefore, that Gainsborough painted two versions of this view, which he may well have observed on one of his excursions out of Bath into the surrounding countryside (possibly near Claverton), to escape the tedium of portrait painting. It is also plausible that he gave one of these to Ralph Allen and kept the other for himself. As such, the present work is an exciting discovery and an important addition to the small number of landscapes that Gainsborough is known to have painted during his Bath-period.
We are grateful to Mr. Hugh Belsey for confirming the attribution of the present work on the basis of a photograph.