Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (Sudbury 1727-1788 London)
A study of trees black chalk and stump and white chalk on blue laid paper, the watermark being GR surmounted by a crown 15.4 x 22.3cm (6 1/16 x 8 3/4in).
Gainsborough's chalk drawings on blue paper are generally associated with the 1770s and 1780s, but he did use chalks and coloured papers throughout his life and this drawing seems to be from the late 1750s or early 1760s. A number of figure drawings on blue paper from that period are known. The majority of Gainsborough's landscape drawings are works of imagination, but this has the appearance of being drawn from nature.
The sheet has at some point been trimmed, and the paper has faded, but it remains an elegant study, with the trees and their leaves carefully defined. The trees appear to be silver birch. Several different techniques are used to describe the foliage. The chalk strokes vary from short marks that represent individual leaves to looped outlines. In addition, there are broader stumped areas. The stumping is a means of providing contrasting texture, but in this case it also seems to represent the movement of branches in the wind.
We are grateful to Susan Sloman for composing the present catalogue entry.