09
July
13.00-14.00
Cost: Free
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Mapping Thomas Gainsborough’s Career in Bath and London

Mapping Thomas Gainsborough’s Career in Bath and London

Lecture by Dr Susan Sloman FSA

Much of Susan Sloman’s research into the Thomas Gainsborough’s life and career has involved mapping and architecture. She is primarily interested in how the streets and buildings in which he lived affected his practice.

In Bath, Gainsborough shared a large central town house built for the Duke of Kingston with his sister (a milliner). This was destroyed at the time of the excavation of the Roman Baths in the last decade of the nineteenth century, and photographs of the excavation show Gainsborough’s house teetering at the edge of the Great Bath held up by wooden props. For the exhibition catalogue accompanying Gainsborough’s Family Album (National Portrait Gallery, Nov 2018 – Feb 2019), Susan Sloman has written about the roles the artist’s wife and sister played within his professional life, and how his and his sister’s use of property created wealth for the family as a whole and supported his portrait-painting practice.

In the course of research for another exhibition (Gainsborough and the Theatre, Holburne Museum, Bath, Oct 2018 – Jan 2019), the changes in London’s streetscape south of Piccadilly that took place at the time of the construction of Regent Street were discovered to be particularly striking. The area Gainsborough frequented in the vicinity of Pall Mall looked very unlike the place we know now. He was only a short walk from the ‘Little’ Theatre (the site of the later Haymarket Theatre) and the King’s Theatre or Italian Opera House, also in Haymarket. Across Pall Mall from these theatres was Dalton’s Warehouse, home to the Royal Academy for the first ten years of its existence, between 1769 and 1779. It is hoped that these elements of geography and archaeology will be of wider interest beyond the confines of art history – and will form a key focus of this talk on Gainsborough’s career.

 

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