A Lady Walking in a Garden with a Child

Object Details

Title:

A Lady Walking in a Garden with a Child

Artist/Maker(s):

Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727 - 1788)

Culture:

English

Date:

about 1785

Medium:

Black chalk with stumping and heightened with white pastel

Dimensions:

50.8 x 22.1 cm (20 x 8 11/16 in.)

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Although their identity is unknown, the lady and child strolling through a park are probably portraits of specific members of English high society. The woman wears a large picture hat, and her hair flows in loose ringlets over her shoulder, a hairstyle very much in vogue in England between 1785 and 1790. Sweeps of black chalk with fresh white heightening suggest the lightness of the woman's step and the sense of breeze blowing through her skirts and gently agitating the surrounding foliage.

Thomas Gainsborough probably made this drawing as a study for The Richmond Water-Walk, a painting commissioned by King George III of England that was apparently never executed. The painting was to feature stylish ladies of the day promenading along the banks of the River Thames in London. To prepare for the painting, Gainsborough made sketching trips to St. James's Park near his London home to draw the "high-dressed and fashionable ladies" he saw there. This drawing was very likely made on such a trip.

Provenance

M. Hodgkin (Paris, France)

- 1905

Louis Huth (Possingworth, Hawkhurst) [sold, Christie's, London, May 20, 1905, lot 8, to Colnaghi]

Harry Elkins Widener (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

- 1991

Private Collection (United States) [sold, Christie's, London, July 9, 1991, lot 90]

Leonardo Mondadori (Geneva, Switzerland), sold through Hazlitt, Gooden, and Fox, Ltd. to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
Figure Drawings (December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997
Master Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998
Carmontelle's Transparency: An 18th Century Motion Picture (2000) (March 14 to May 28, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 14 to May 28, 2000
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001
Thomas Gainsborough, 1727-1788 (October 24, 2002 to September 14, 2003) (Cat. 94; Catalogue edited by M. Rosenthal and M. Myrone.)
  • Tate Britain, (London), October 24, 2002 to January 19, 2003
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, June 9 to September 14, 2003
Carmontelle's Transparency: An 18th Century Motion Picture (March 14 to June 18, 2006) (Cat. 94; Catalogue edited by M. Rosenthal and M. Myrone.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 14 to June 18, 2006
Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings (July 19 to October 23, 2011) (Cat. 94; Catalogue edited by M. Rosenthal and M. Myrone.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 19 to October 23, 2011
Bibliography