Mary, Countess Howe, c.1763-4 (oil on canvas), Gainsborough, Thomas (1727-88) / The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London, UK / The Bridgeman Art Library
Master artist Thomas Gainsborough (1727 – 1788) painted remarkably elegant, refined and realistic landscapes and portraits. A gifted child, Gainsborough studied art in London at age 13. Later, he became a popular painter of aristocrats, and was the favorite of the Royal Family. Gainsborough also depicted sympathetic scenes of shepherds and farm workers. Particularly influenced by artist Anthony Van Dyck, Gainsborough's portraits were exceptionally rich and realistic. Gainsborough’s fluid landscapes, which he created for his own enjoyment, were among the first great landscapes painted in England.