<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

Gainsborough, Thomas, 1727-1788.
Thomas Gainsborough letters to his sister Mrs. Mary Gibbon,
Physical Description:
2 letters ; 27 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
ND497.G3 A3 1777
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Information
Archives & Manuscripts
Two autograph letters, signed, from Gainsborough to his sister Mrs. Mary Gibbon. Both letters are mounted and housed in a red cloth slip-case. The first, dated 22 September 1777 is a request for a loan of 20 pounds to pay for treatment of a leg ulcer for "a poor wench whom I used to speak to at Bath", and Gainsborough is clearly concerned that his wife should not find out about this. At the time of writing Gainsborough was engaged in painting a full-length portrait of Miss Read, Sir Benjamin Truman's granddaughter. The letter also refers to the Duke of Dorset's intention "to buy two landskips as soon as his house is ready". The second letter is undated, but was evidently written during the short marriage of Gainsborough's daughter Mary to the musician Johann Christian Fischer. The couple separated within a year of their marriage on 22 Nov. 1780. Gainsborough disapproved of the marriage and wrote to his sister that "Fischer has deceived me in his circumstances," for which reason his daughter Mary was "playing the devil to raise money." Gainsborough learned that his daughter was buying material from one haberdasher to sell on to another; an offence punishable, as Gainsborough points out, by transportation. He asks his sister for help in establishing whether this was done with or without her husband's knowledge.
Pen and brown ink.
Subject Terms:
Fischer, Johann Christian, 1733-1800 -- Correspondence.
Gainsborough, Mary, 1748-1826.
Gainsborough, Thomas, 1727-1788 -- Correspondence.
Gibbon, Mary, 1713-ca. 1790 -- Correspondence.
If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.