The Berger Collection

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)
A Coastal Landscape, 1782-84
Oil on canvas
25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm)

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Gainsborough was one of England’s most sought-after portraitists, but his real love was painting landscapes. Born in rural Suffolk, in the east of England, he was truly happy in the quiet countryside. Despite this love of the country, Gainsborough’s landscapes were drawn not from life but from his imagination. He was less interested in recording the actual appearance of nature than in evoking a mood. This scene, for instance, suggests a state of peace and tranquility. A milkmaid and her herd rest on the shore, while fishing boats set out across the calm, still water; their sails and the clouds above are delicately painted with Gainsborough’s trademark feathery touches.


Samuel Rogers; Christie's, London, April 28, 1856, lot 713; bought by Mr. Holloway; John Dillon; Christie's, London, April 17, 1869, lot 92; with Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; John Heugh; Christie's, London, April 24-25, 1874, lot 173; R. K. Hodson; with Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; Pandelli Ralli; Paula de Koenigsberg, 1945; with Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; private collection, U.S.; Christie's, New York, January 29, 1998, lot 61

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