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Thomas Gainsborough
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Artist
    (May 14, 1727-August 2, 1788)
    Born in Sudbury, England, United Kingdom
    Portrait and landscape painter
    Created over 300 paintings of which 220 were portraits
    Best known painting is 'The Blue Boy' (1770)
    Founding member of the Royal Academy of Art (1768)
    Early in his career, he lived off a £200 annuity that his wife received as the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Beaufort.
    After moving to London, he became a regular patron of the city's brothels.
    He quit the Royal Academy following a dispute over how his paintings were hanged during an exhibition (1784).
    He became increasingly frustrated at having to paint portraits of the upper class to make a living, saying of aristocrats, 'They have only one part worth looking at, and that is their purse.'
    He was also a musician, playing the harp, oboe and viol di gamba.
    He was the favorite painter of King George III and the royal family.
    His rival Joshua Reynolds said, 'Whatever he attempted, he carried to a high degree of excellence.'
    He is listed as one of the artists Ray Davies prefers to 'your smart modern painters' in the Kinks song '20th Century Man.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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