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Thomas Gainsborough, The Market Cart

Key facts
Full title The Market Cart
Artist Thomas Gainsborough
Artist dates 1727 - 1788
Date made 1786
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 184 × 153 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Governors of the British Institution, 1830
Inventory number NG80
Location Room 34
Collection Main Collection
The Market Cart
Thomas Gainsborough

A horse-drawn cart trundles along a woodland path on the way to market. Two boys and their dog walk alongside its giant wheel, while two girls sit perched on top of the produce. Carrots spill out of a basket, and turnips, potatoes and cabbages are loosely piled in. The older girl raises one arm, perhaps to shade her eyes from the flickering sunlight as they pass beneath the trees, or in response to the woodsman gathering firewood.Two weary travellers rest beside the road with their baskets, bundles and dog.

This is one of Gainsborough’s last landscapes, painted about 18 months before he died. The original position of the horse’s head, which was nearer the cart, can now be seen through the paint.

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