Drawings of Thomas Gainsborough

John Hayes

Catalogue Raisonné
Publicaton Date
May 1971
Standard Number
Yale University Press
368 pages

Though collectors have treasured the drawings of Thomas Gainsborough for two centuries, the artist’s fame has rested principally on his paintings, whether portraits or landscapes. Now John Hayes presents the most comprehensive study ever of these drawings and reveals Gainsborough as one of the greatest of British draughtsmen. 

After a biographical sketch, Mr. Hayes defines the essential characteristics of Gainsborough’s very personal style and relates his art to that of his contemporaries. The following chapters treat Gainsborough’s unusual techniques and methods of work, his stylistic development (including a chronology of datable drawings), his subject matter and imagery, the influences that contributed to the maturing of his style, and the owners of his drawings. Particular attention is given to Gainsborough’s many assistants, pupils, and imitators, whose drawings are illustrated with the originals from which they derive.

The catalogue raisonné is the first to list all the nearly 900 known Gainsborough drawings. The plate volume contains more than 325 Gainsborough drawings, including approximately 150 reproduced for the first time.