Mr and Mrs Andrews

This portrait is the masterpiece of Gainsborough's early years. It was painted after his return home from London to Suffolk in 1748, soon after the marriage of Robert Andrews of the Auberies and Frances Carter of Ballingdon House, near Sudbury, in November of that year.

The landscape evokes Robert Andrews's estate, to which his marriage added property. He has a gun under his arm, while his wife sits on an elaborate Rococo-style wooden bench. The painting of Mrs Andrews's lap is unfinished. The space may have been reserved for a child for Mrs Andrews to hold.

The painting follows the fashionable convention of the conversation piece, a (usually) small-scale portrait showing two or more people, often out of doors. The emphasis on the landscape here allows Gainsborough to display his skills as a painter of convincingly changing weather and naturalistic scenery, still a novelty at this time.

Key facts

Artist dates
1727 - 1788
Full title
Mr and Mrs Andrews
Date made
about 1750
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
69.8 x 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
Location in Gallery