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Print made by Thomas Gainsborough RA, 1727–1788, British
Wooded Landscape with Herdsman and Cows
Soft-ground etching and aquatint on moderately thick, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 11 x 13 3/4 inches (27.9 x 34.9 cm) and Image: 10 1/8 x 12 7/8 inches (25.7 x 32.7 cm)

Inscribed in graphite, on back, lower left: "W 9' /16 | 212 /1 L"; lower right: "3/"

Lettered upper left: "10"; lower left: "Defigned & Engraved by Thos. Gainsborough."; lower center: "Pubd. as the Act directs Augt 1ft, 1797, by J.&J. Boydell No.90, Cheapside; & at the Shakfpeare Gallery, Pall Mall."

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
cows | genre subject | herdsman | landscape | rocks (landforms) | shepherd | trees | woods
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.
Curatorial Comment:
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Gainsborough was an active printmaker but rarely published prints in his own lifetime. He began making private experiments with aquatint from the early 1770s, possibly with advice from Paul Sandby. This new technique was about the only method of graphic reproduction that could come close to capturing the effects of Gainsborough’s painterly draftsmanship. The plate for this print was made in the mid 1780s and is typical of the kind of rustic scenery that Gainsborough was producing at the end of his career through which he sought an immediate emotional response from the viewer. His mind invariably conjured up images of rural life whenever he fantasized about escaping the drudgery of routine work painting portraits. This impression was published by John Boydell in 1797 after Gainsborough’s death.
--Matthew Hargraves,2011
Exhibition History:
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English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-07-17)

Thomas Gainsborough (Tate) (Tate Britain, 1980-10-07 - 1981-01-04)

Thomas Gainsborough (Tate) (Musée du Louvre, 1981-02-07 - 1981-04-26)

The Creative Printmaker (Joseph and Margaret Muscarelle Museum of Art, 1986-03-05 - 1986-04-20)

The Creative Printmaker (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-07-09 - 1985-09-01)

Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)

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