A Young Gentleman

Thomas Gainsborough, 1727 - 1788

A Young Gentleman

Thomas Gainsborough 1727 - 1788


Portrait of a young man turned to the left slightly but looking towards the viewer. He is depicted wearing a uniform, possibly naval, comprising a dark blue coat with a red collar and metal thread embroidery at the buttonholes, a black bow-tie cravat, lace ruffles at the cuffs, and a grey wig. He is framed in a dark oval, which creates a contrast with the sitter's pale face.

Display Label

Gallery text panel Face and Place Portraiture and Landscape in the 18th Century A dramatic growth in Britain's wealth during the 1700s brought about an increased demand for art and design. Hundreds of grand houses were built or improved and many were filled with impressive private collections. The prominent display of paintings and decorative arts demonstrated their owners' status and taste. Portraiture became particularly fashionable, leading to rising numbers of 'face painters' and to an increase in the quality of their work. The ability to capture a likeness was most important but artists could also enhance a sitter's image with qualities such as prestige, wisdom or power. New public exhibitions gave artists a shop window and the Royal Academy, founded in 1768, organised the most important annual show. Amid this developing climate of enthusiasm for art, landscape painting also began its remarkable evolution. Landscape arose from a need to accurately record views and was first thought to be of little artistic merit. But as painters grew in confidence during the later 1700s it was treated with more creativity and seriousness, establishing a distinctive tradition in British art.

Object Name

A Young Gentleman

Creators Name

Thomas Gainsborough

Date Created



Canvas: 76.5cm x 63.5cm
framed (approx): 92.3cm x 79.8cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint

On Display

[G13] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 13
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© Manchester Art Gallery

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