Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)
Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, in eastern England. At the age of thirteen, he entered St. Martin's Lane Academy in London. He also worked under the French engraver Hubert Francois Gravelot. In 1748, Gainsborough returned to Suffolk and began painting portraits of members of the wealthy farming community around Ipswich. He also painted small landscapes but mostly for his own pleasure. In 1759 he moved to Bath, on the west coast of England. It was there that he made his name. In 1768 he was one of the founding members of the Royal Academy. Five years later, Gainsborough moved to London and became the major new force in English portraiture. He was favored by the royal family and in 1778 painted George III and Queen Charlotte. While in London, Gainsborough also painted seascapes and landscapes and began making what he termed "fancy pictures," moving portraits of peasant children.