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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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A key contributor to British art, Gainsborough commented upon, and was discussed by many of the other famous names of this era

Quotations offer an insight into the personalities and impact achieved by the famous artists of past centuries. The few attributable quotes available on Gainsborough are included below, alongside some opinions on his work from others.

Quotes Attributed to Thomas Gainsborough

I'm sick of Portraits and wish very much to take my Viol da Gamba and walk off to some sweet Village where I can paint Landskips and enjoy the very End of Life in quietness and ease.

Confound the nose, there's no end to it!

I wish you would recollect that Painting and Punctuality mix like Oil and Vinegar, and that Genius and regularity are utter Enemies and must be to the end of time.

We love a genius for what he leaves and mourn him for what he takes away

Though I'm a rogue in talking upon Painting & Love I can be serious and honest upon any subject thoroughly pleasing to me.

Fools talk of imitation and copying, all is imitation

Many a real genius is lost in the fictitious character of the Gentleman. I am the most inconsistent, changeable being so full of fits and starts.

We are all going to Heaven, and Van Dyck is of the company.

Quotes on Thomas Gainsborough

As I have said, Turner did not believe that colour was reducible to system; and Gainsborough, when painting his Blue Boy, seems to have been of the same opinion. I think it was the remark of Mr. Field, when we were looking at that celebrated picture [ Blue Boy ], that Gainsborough's eye was truer than his head, since against his theory he had introduced a sufficiency of warm colours into the flesh tints to balance the predominating cold of the picture.

Rev. Henry Scott Trimmer

It is to Gainsborough's credit that he never attempted the so-called 'grand style' in painting as did Romney with such doubtful success; in that province Reynolds holds the highest rank of the artists of his day. Gainsborough in some respects was like a child; and this gives his character a certain attraction.

Lord Ronald Sutherland F.S.A

The calm of mid-day, the haze of twilight, the dew and pearls of morning are what we find in the pictures of this good, kindly, happy man.. we look at them the tears spring to our eyes, and we know not whence they come. The solitary shepherd with his flock, the peasant returning from the wood with his bundle of f*ggots, the dark-some lane or dell, the sweet little cottage-girl at the spring with her pitcher, were the things which he delighted to paint, and which he painted with exquisite refinement, yet not refinement beyond nature.

John Constable

On looking at them, we find tears in our eyes and know not what brings them.

John Constable