A Peasant Girl Gathering Faggots in a Wood
Europe, United Kingdom, England
First floor: 18th Century
169 x 123 cm
A Peasant Girl Gathering Faggots in a Wood 1782
Thomas Gainsborough 1727-1788
Oil on canvas
This work belongs to a group of late Gainsboroughs
which were called fancy pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds,
the first President of the Royal Academy,
who greatly admired them.
They combine the artist's skill as a figure painter
with his longstanding interest in landscape.
Their subjects are anonymous rural characters
in imaginary settings.
An idealised mood of humility and gratitude
appealed to picture-buying landowners:
new legislation had left the rural poor more dependent
on the generosity of employers and local charities.
The fancy pictures derive much of their effect, however,
from Gainsborough's painterly influences:
Dutch, French and Spanish art.
This example is unfinished around the hands and feet.
It was unexhibited during the artist's lifetime
and remained in his studio at his death.
Purchased with the assistance of the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund
and the National Art Collections Fund 1978.138