Leading 18th century British portraitist Thomas Gainsborough will return to his Ipswich home after the town’s Wolsey Art Gallery secured a self-portrait of the founding member of the Royal Academy from the National Portrait Gallery.
The oil canvas, which is believed to date from around 1758, goes on display today (February 23 2009) at Christchurch Mansion after Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service agreed a loan deal for the piece.
“Thomas Gainsborough’s reputation is well established as one of the master portrait painters of the 18th century,” said Emma Roodhouse, Art Curator for CIMS.
“His early years in Ipswich from 1752-1759 certainly had an impact on the development of his style.
“The loan from National Portrait Gallery will give us a chance to show a self portrait of the young artist, alongside those portraits of Suffolk friends and patrons. It is excellent to be able to show the man behind the creation of these wonderful images.”
Officials at the Gallery heralded the news as a “wonderful example” of the growing relationship between the East Anglian organisation and major collections.
“I am very pleased that this delightful self-portrait should be on display at the Wolsey Art Gallery,” added National Portrait Gallery Director Sandy Nairne. “It gives a telling insight into one of Britain’s greatest painters.”