barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)

A Hilly Landscape

London, about 1775-80

Black chalk and stump and white chalk on blue paper

27. x 33.5 cm


Gainsborough rarely made drawings as preparation for a painting and at this date he did not work from nature.

Instead, landscape drawings such as this were made as private studio exercises in which he manipulated a range of motifs. The church tower, the herdsman with cattle, the tree-lined pool and the distant hills reappear in numerous different combinations.

The artist was known for his inventive use of drawing media. Using black chalk on blue paper, he varied the textures by smudging with a stump — a roll of cardboard in the form of a point. Highlights were then added in white.

Purchased 1937 (No.37.4)

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