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Thomas Gainsborough RA, 1727–1788, British

Wooded Landscape with a Cottage and Shepherd

Former Title(s):

Wooded Landscape with a Cottage, Sheep and a Reclining Shepherd [as published in 1985 YCBA Concise Catalogue]

Landscape with Shepherd

1748 to 1750
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 17 x 21 3/8 inches (43.2 x 54.3 cm)

Label on verso, lower right: “Pitt & Scott Ltd | London | G. [handwritten] 4101 | #248 | [typed] 3989”; upper right: “Pitt & Scott Ltd | London | G. [handwritten] 7799 | [typed] 7174”

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
cottage | forest | hills | landscape | meadow | pasture | shepherd | tree
Not on view

In 1748, Thomas Gainsborough returned from London to Sudbury, the small town in Suffolk where he was born. He aspired to be a landscape specialist, having studied the work of George Lambert as well as the seventeenth- century Dutch landscapes he encountered in London collections and with picture dealers. This small landscape of a resting shepherd boy, painted while Gainsborough was living in Sudbury, evokes that Dutch tradition. It is probably an imaginary view rather than a description of an actual place.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Mark Bills, Early Gainsborough: 'From the Obscurity of a Country Town', Gainsborough's House Society, Sudbury, Suffolk, United Kingdom, p. 96, fig. 16, NJ18.G16 B55 2018 (LC) Oversize (YCBA)

Canaletto to Constable, paintings of town and country from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 1998, pp. 11, 41, pl. 8, ND1354.4 Y25 1998 (YCBA)

James Hamilton, Gainsborough A Portrait, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, pl. 6, NJ18.G16 H36 2017 (YCBA)

John T. Hayes, Gainsborough: paintings and drawings, Phaidon, London New York, 1975, pp. 201-02, no. 5, pl. 4, NJ18 G16 H395 + (YCBA)

John T. Hayes, Thomas Gainsborough, Tate Publishing, [S.l., 1980, p. 94, no. 81, NJ18 G16 H48 (YCBA)

Penelope McElwee, The non-representation of the agricultural labourers in 18th and 19th century English paintings : an exploration into the artistic conventions followed by the aristocracy and landowning classes in representations of the agricultural labourers ..., Newcastle upon Tyne, 2016, pp. 34-35, fig. 2-4, NX650.L32 M34 2016 (YCBA)

Tom will be a genius, new landscapes by the young Thomas Gainsborough : catalogue of an exhibition at Philip Mould LTd, 4 - 28 July, 2009. , Philip Mould Ltd., London, 2009, pp. 34-5, fig. 15, NJ18 G16 T65 2009 + (YCBA)

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