(Sudbury 1727 - London 1788)
Wooded Landscape with a Country Cart and Faggot Gatherers
221 x 310 mm. (8 3/4 x 12 1/8 in.)
As John Hayes and Lindsay Stainton have noted of the present sheet, ‘This unusually spacious composition, which can probably be dated towards the end of the 1760s, includes several of Gainsborough’s most familiar motifs: the boy sitting in the back of the cart is in the same pose as a drawing in the British Museum, while the women and children gathering sticks in the foreground anticipate the “fancy” subjects of the 1780s in which similar rustic figures were painted on the scale of life.’.
The musician William Jackson, a close friend of the artist and an early biographer, wrote that ‘If I were to rest his reputation upon one point; it should be on his Drawings...No man ever possessed methods so various in producing effect, and all excellent.’ A prolific draughtsman, Gainsborough apparently never sold any of his drawings, although he is thought to have given away many of them as presents. As Susan Sloman has noted, ‘During his lifetime Gainsborough’s drawings were known to an inner circle of friends, artist and connoisseurs, but not to the wider public.’