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[painting by Gainsborough]


I like this painting, "Mr and Mrs Andrews", made about 1750 by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), who was a great painter and also a lover of music. It is oil on canvas, size 69,8 x 119,4 cm, on permanent display in the National Gallery in London. For some reason the painter did not quite finish his work: in Mrs Andrews' lap only the outline of a dead pheasant, presumably shot by her husband, can be seen. This is an intriguing composition, not just a portrait but also a landscape. The exact spot is near Sudbury in Suffolk where Gainsborough lived at the time. Behind the trees the tower of St Peter's is just visible. Robert Andrews, the owner of these fields and his wife Frances Mary (née Carter), who were married in 1748, are not likely to have posed themselves at this spot, models were probably used instead. The couple are looking at us rather coolly, as if we have just interrupted their sunday afternoon together. By contrast, the landscape looks very warm and inviting. Better to greet the Andrewses politely, and continue our walk through the fields. There must be a nice view from the hill in the middle of the picture.

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