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Thomas Gainsborough, 1727–1788

William Lowndes, Auditor of His Majesty's Court of Exchequer

Former Title(s):

William Lowndes Stone [1985, Cormack, YCBA Concise Catalogue]

William Lowndes-Stone

Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
49 15/16 x 40 3/16 inches (126.8 x 102.1 cm)

Inscribed, lower left: "W.m Lowndes Esqr | One of the Aud.rs o fhis majesty's | Court of Escheqr.: Aged 83 years | and 8 months."

Signed and dated, lower left: "Painted by T Gainsborough | Bath 1771"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
auditor | chair | costume | court (judicial body) | curtain | dog (animal) | elderly | interior | man | portrait | Spaniel
Associated People:
Lowndes, William (1687–1775), public servant and second son of William Lowndes of Winsdow (1652–1724)
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

As the inscription states, William Lowndes was in his eighty-fourth year when he engaged Thomas Gainsborough to paint his portrait. It was presumably intended for Lowndes’s country house, the old manor of AstwoodBury in Buckinghamshire, which he purchased before 1752. Lowndes’s father and namesake was a famously successful Secretary to the Treasury during the reign of Queen Anne, who made a fortune by shrewd property investments, and, according to Lord Chesterfield (writing in 1747), coined the phrase “take care of the pence for the pounds will take care of themselves.” It was thought to be entirely appropriate for public officials to secure senior positions in the government for their children and friends, so Mr. Lowndes Jr. followed his father to the Treasury, and the family continued to prosper through the eighteenth century. He died in 1775, not long after Gainsborough painted his portrait, full of sympathy and life, seated beside his favorite spaniel.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Advertisement, Athenaeum, no. 3358, March 5, 1892, p. 295, Available online in British Periodicals II Also available A88 At421 + Oversize (SML) [ORBIS]

Advertisement, Athenaeum, no. 3359, March 12, 1892, p. 326, Available online in British Periodicals II Also available A88 At421 + Oversize (SML) [ORBIS]

Alfred Beaver, The Signatures of Painters, Art Journal, vol. 43, April 1883, p. 122, Available online in British Periodicals II Also available J10 Ar74 + Oversize (LSF) [ORBIS]

Hugh Belsey, Thomas Gainsborough: The portraits, fancy pictures and copies after old masters, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, p. 565-566, cat. 602, NJ18.G16 B453 2019 (LC) Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

British Art at Yale, Apollo, v.105, April 1977, pp. 244, 247, fig. 17, N1 .A54 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sidney Colvin, Sixth Winter Exhibition of Old Masters at the Royal Academy, Academy, vol. 8, no. 145, February 13, 1875, p. 175, Available online in British Periodicals II Also available Film S2503 (SML) [ORBIS]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 98-99, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 24, ND466 G67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : a passion for British art [large print labels], , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 P381 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Diane Perkins, Gainsborough's dogs, Gainsborough's House, Sudbury, Suffolk, 2006, p. 7, fig. 3, NJ18 G16 P47 2006 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Simon Schama, The Yale Centre for British Art, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, , May 20, 1977, p. 620, TLS Historical Archive [ORBIS]

The Royal Academy - Winter Exhibition, Athenaeum, no. 2463, January 9, 1875, p. 56, Available online in British Periodicals II Also available A88 At421 + Oversize (SML)

Ellis Waterhouse, An Impressive Panorama of British Portraiture, Apollo, v. 105, no. 182, April 1977, p. 244, 247, fig. 17, N1 A54 + (YCBA) Another copy of this article may be found in a separately bound and catalogued copy of this issue located on the Mellon Shelf [call number : N5220 M552 A7 1977 + (YCBA)] [YCBA]

Ellis Waterhouse, Preliminary Check List of Portraits by Thomas Gainsborough, Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 33, 1948-1950, p. 71, N12 W35 A12 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ellis Waterhouse, Some Notes of the Exhibition of Works of Art from Midland Houses at Birmingham, Burlington Magazine, v. 95, no. 606, September, 1953, pp. 306-9, fig. 31, N1 B87 + (YCBA) Available online through JStor [YCBA]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 28, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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