Skip to main content
The Painter's Daughters with a Cat
Thomas Gainsborough
/

This portrait of Gainsborough’s daughters is likely to have been painted in Bath a year or so after the family moved there in late 1759. Mary appears to be about ten or eleven years old, and Margaret about eight or nine. Margaret leans her forehead back against her sister’s cheek as she holds their barely sketched-in cat, while Mary wraps her arms around her little sister, partly to help her with the writhing cat – whose tail she appears to pull – but also in a moving gesture of tenderness. No other portrait of this date conveys so strongly the sense that it is painted from life.

Although the faces have been painted, most of the picture is unfinished. The feathery pattern of gold, blue and grey brushstrokes that surrounds the girls seems to suggest storm clouds, sun and woodland.

Key facts
Artist Thomas Gainsborough
Artist dates 1727 - 1788
Full title The Painter's Daughters with a Cat
Date made probably about 1760-1
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75.6 × 62.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1923
Inventory number NG3812
Location in Gallery Room 35
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo