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Thomas Gainsborough, Mr and Mrs Andrews

Key facts
Full title Mr and Mrs Andrews
Artist Thomas Gainsborough
Artist dates 1727 - 1788
Date made about 1750
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 69.8 × 119.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with contributions from The Pilgrim Trust, the Art Fund, Associated Television Ltd, and Mr and Mrs W. W. Spooner, 1960
Inventory number NG6301
Location Room 35
Collection Main Collection
Mr and Mrs Andrews
Thomas Gainsborough

This portrait of Mr Robert (1725–1806) and Mrs Frances Andrews (about 1732–1780) is the masterpiece of Gainsborough’s early career. It has been described as a ‘triple portrait’ – of Robert Andrews, his wife and his land.

Behind Mr and Mrs Andrews is a wide view looking south over the valley of the River Stour. Robert Andrews owned nearly 3000 acres and much of the land we see here belonged to him. Gainsborough has displayed his skills as a painter of convincingly changing weather and naturalistic scenery, which was still a novelty at this time.

The unpainted patch on Mrs Andrews’s lap may have been reserved to later paint a baby. Surrounded by the beauty of the woods and clouds of the Essex countryside, self-consciously posing beside their fertile harvest field and well-stocked pastures, Mr and Mrs Andrews live on in a moving evocation of themselves at home in their own landscape.

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