Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Wooded Landscape with Cows beside a Pool, Figures and Cottage

Artist:
Thomas Gainsborough (British, Sudbury 1727–1788 London)
Date:
1775–80
Medium:
Soft-ground etching with aquatint, printed in gray ink
Dimensions:
sheet: 10 1/4 x 13 1/16 in. (26 x 33.2 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1937
Accession Number:
37.43.10
Not on view
Pairs of creatures punctuate the moonlit landscape, arranged as if to illustrate the progress of love: at the right, two cattle nestle together; in the center, a human couple reclines companionably on a log; and at the left, a standing figure leans pensively against a staff, accompanied by a loyal hound. The apparently simple scene-probably made in the later 1770s, given its refined drawing style-was hard-won. Gainsborough completed this soft-ground etching using a variety of techniques: he strengthened lines in the foliage with an engraver's sharp burin; formed the smooth light areas in the sky with aquatint; and preserved the white color of the paper on the cow's back by stopping-out. Yet, despite such virtuoso passages, Gainsborough eschewed technical perfection and simply ignored the defects on his copper printing plate that created the lateral lines resembling creases in the sheet.
Inscription: Lower left in plate: "Designed & engraved by Thos. Gainsborough"
Lipphart and Coppenrath; Vendor: P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 28, 2003–July 27, 2003.

Hayes 5; Woodall 8
Mrs. Arthur Bell Mrs. Arthur Bell (N. D'Anvers) Thomas Gainsborough: A Record of His Life and Works. G. Bell & Sons George Bell & Sons, London, 1897, repr., facing p. 12.

Walter Shaw Sparrow A Book of British Etching from Francis Barlow to Francis Seymour Haden. London, 1926, repr. facing p. 126.

Mary Woodall Gainsborough's Landscape Drawings. London, 1939, cat. no. 8, p. 95.

John T. Hayes Gainsborough as Printmaker. 1971, cat. no. 5, fig. no. 44, pp. 50-51.



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