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Thomas Gainsborough Biography for Kids

Image with several other images on it. At the top is a painting  of a landscape with a road. Over this is a brown rectangle with the words "Thomas Gainsborough  Biography for Kids." Below this are three more paintings. The first one is a small painting using dark browns and blacks of a man with brown hair curled up on the sides and a brown coat with large buttons. This is a portrait of Thomas Gainsborough. The second painting is of a woman in a blue dress with her hair up on top of her head. The third painting is of a couple - the man is standing next to the woman and is wearing black short pants and a beige jacket and a tricorn hat with a long gun under his arm and a dog at his feet. The woman is sitting on a bench and wearing a blue dress that has a large hoop skirt under it and a hat.

Good afternoon. I am Thomas Gainsborough. Would you like a spot of tea? No?

Thomas Gainsborough drinking tea
Thomas Gainsborough drinking tea

Oh, you’re here to learn about me and my art. This is the Thomas Gainsborough biography for kids! Indeed, I was born in 1727 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England and I taught myself art at first. At age 13, I moved to London to study art. There I met my wife, Margaret, and together we had two daughters.

Nee Margaret Burr (Gainsborough's wife) by Thomas Gainsborough
Nee Margaret Burr (Gainsborough’s wife) by Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Artist's Daughters with a Cat by Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Artist’s Daughters with a Cat by Thomas Gainsborough

I made a modest living from my painting at first, and when we moved to Bath, I studied the portraits of Antoon van Dyck.

Self-Portrait with a Sunflower by Antoon van Dyck
Self-Portrait with a Sunflower by Antoon van Dyck

Then, I attracted a respectable clientele and became known as a great portrait painter. Sir Joshua Reynolds and I are the leading portraitists in England in the late 1800s! I am even the favorite painter of King George III – you know the king of England during that little conflict called the American War of Independence. Here is one of my portraits of King George III.

King George III by Thomas Gainsborough
King George III by Thomas Gainsborough

Here is a portrait of Queen Charlotte.

Portrait of Queen Charlotte by Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Queen Charlotte by Thomas Gainsborough

I also was a founding member of the Royal Academy of Art in London. It is frustrating that I have to paint so many portraits…

Carl Friedrich Abel by Thomas Gainsborough
Carl Friedrich Abel by Thomas Gainsborough
A Woman in Blue, Portrait of the Duchess of Beaufort by Thomas Gainsborough
A Woman in Blue, Portrait of the Duchess of Beaufort by Thomas Gainsborough
John Pamplin by Thomas Gainsborough
John Pamplin by Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Johann Christian Bach, youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach by Thomas Gainsborough
Portrait of Johann Christian Bach, youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach by Thomas Gainsborough
Lord Cornwallis by Thomas Gainsborough
Lord Cornwallis by Thomas Gainsborough

Here is my well-loved portrait The Blue Boy, which shows off my use of rich colors.

The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough
The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough

So many portraits!! But you see, what I really enjoy painting is landscapes. I paint portraits to live and landscapes because I love them. My favorite thing to do is make the landscapes look fancy using feathery brush strokes so they look imaginary or ideal.

The Mall in St. James Park by Thomas Gainsborough
The Mall in St. James Park by Thomas Gainsborough
A Coastal Landscape by Thomas Gainsborough
A Coastal Landscape by Thomas Gainsborough
Mountain Landscape with Shepherd by Thomas Gainsborough
Mountain Landscape with Shepherd by Thomas Gainsborough
Girl with Pigs by Thomas Gainsborough
Girl with Pigs by Thomas Gainsborough
The Watering Place by Thomas Gainsborough
The Watering Place by Thomas Gainsborough
Seashore with Fisherman by Thomas Gainsborough
Seashore with Fisherman by Thomas Gainsborough

You see, old chap, here is my most famous painting of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrews. It is a portrait, indeed, but it is also a landscape painting, which is so important to me.

A painting of a couple to the left and a landscape to the right. The man is standing next to the woman and is wearing black short pants and a beige jacket and a tricorn hat with a long gun under his arm and a dog at his feet. The woman is sitting on a bench and wearing a blue dress that has a large hoop skirt under it and a hat.
Mr. and Mrs. Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough

Did you see the broccoli I have here?

Picture of Thomas Gainsborough holding broccoli

I dare say, old chap, I use it as a model to represent the woods in the background of the landscape I am working on. Indeed, I use broccoli to paint my trees.

Drinkstone Park by Thomas Gainsborough
Drinkstone Park by Thomas Gainsborough

Here are the main things to remember about me. I am Thomas Gainsborough from England in the 1700s, a founding member of the Royal Academy of Art in London, known for my portraits with landscapes, feathery brushstrokes and use of broccoli as a model for my trees.

Investigate the life and art works of Thomas Gainsborough in this artist unit study!

Image of a mockup of a computer screen with the image of a man with short brown hair pulled back in a ponytail next to a green paint swish with the words over it saying, "Investigating Thomas Gainsborough." Below the main computer screen are pages from the unit study and two sprial bound books. Next to the sprial books are an arrow and the words on the left side which say Teacher Notes and an arrow and the words on the right side which say Student Activity Pack.

Check out the video too!

Resources:

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