Frank, lucid and modern, this is a fresh portrait of Thomas Gainsborough, the most sensuous artist of the eighteenth century.
** Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times, Sunday Times and Observer **
'Compulsively readable - the pages seem to turn themselves' John Carey, Sunday Times
'Brings one of the very greatest [artists] vividly to life' Literary Review
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88) lived as if electricity shot through his sinews and crackled at his finger ends. He was a gentle and empathetic family man, but had a shockingly loose, libidinous manner and a volatility that could lead him to slash his paintings.
James Hamilton reveals the artist in his many contexts: the talented Suffolk lad, transported to the heights of fashion; the rake-on-the-make in London, learning his craft in the shadow of Hogarth; the society-portrait painter in Bath and London who earned huge sums by charming the right people into his studio. With fresh insights into original sources, Gainsborough: A Portrait transforms our understanding of this fascinating man, and enlightens the century that bore him.
With great imaginative verve [Hamilton recreates] the social atmosphere of the places where the artist and his family settled ... [Hamilton] is constantly fascinating about the paintings ... His book is gorgeously illustrated and compulsively readable - the pages seem to turn themselves. Almost as good as owning a Gainsborough - Sunday Times
James Hamilton has written biographies of Turner and Faraday. While being an authority on nineteenth century cultural history, James Hamilton also writes on twentieth century and contemporary art. Formerly Alistair Horne Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, he is University Curator and Honorary Reader in the History of Art at the University of Birmingham.