Thomas Gainsborough

1727 (Sudbury, Suffolk, England) – 1788 (London)

Abel and Bach were close friends and fellow-carousers — Gainsborough preferring the company of musicians to artists. A founder-member of the Royal Academy, Reynolds was his great rival (they made up when Gainsborough was dying). When first in London, he had joined Hogarth’s St. Martin’s Lane group, contributing to a set of murals for the Foundling Hospital. Garrick sat for his portrait, but dismissing Gainsborough’s talents, changed his expression every time the artist looked away. Gainsborough confided to Sheridan that he had many more acquaintances than friends, and asked if he’d accompany him to his grave.

Thomas Gainsborough knew…