Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88)
Landscape with Cattle on a Road Running through a Wooded Valley
1780s
Black chalks, India ink wash and white gouache, on light brown tinted paper
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Witt Bequest, 1952

Gainsborough's free and fluid handling of black chalk is evident in this late sheet. He does not record an actual location, but invents a generalized view of nature to evoke a pastoral ideal. Not intended for public viewing, Gainsborough's drawings were collected by connoisseurs who appreciated these private exercises of the imagination.