- Museum number
Object: Wooded landscape with gipsies round a camp fire
Object: The Gipsies
Landscape with group of gipsy men, women and children around figure beside tree, one sitting on donkey, path leading away at right; before letters; the first version begun in 1753-4. 1759
- Production date
Height: 496 millimetres
Width: 435 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from 'Gainsborough and Reynolds in the BM', BM 1984 cat.10:
The etching records a lost picture by Gainsborough that was painted c. 1753-4 for an Ipswich patron (Waterhouse 887). An earlier and radically different version of the composition was slashed by Gainsborough in a temper and left unfinished; this was given by the artist to his friend Joshua Kirby and it is now in the Tate Gallery (Waterhouse 864; Hayes plate 33). It has not previously been observed that a study for the head of the donkey is in the British Museum (Oo,2.14, Hayes 857).
This impression shows the plate as it was left by Gainsborough, with all the lines etched. It was later reworked with the graver by J. Wood and published in March 1759, and again republished in 1764, this time by Boydell. Hayes states that "no impressions of the original etching by Gainsborough are now known", which can only mean that in the state exhibited in Clifford et al., 1978 has already been reworked with a graver. This is incorrect, for there is no trace of any such reworking. Since Hayes' book was published, an impression of an unknown earlier state, before the addition of some horizontal lines to the sky, and shading in the upper foliage of the tree, has been sold at Christie's (30 July 1975, lot 316).
See Shirley for more information about the history of the plate.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1978/79 Oct-Jan, BM, P&D, 'Gainsborough and Reynolds in the BM', No.10
1988 Jun-Jul, Aldeburgh, Peter Pears Gallery, Gainsborough's Prints
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number