Gainsborough Lady Bate-Dudley Clear-file - A4
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Lady-Bate Dudley, around 1787. Oil on canvas. H. 221 ; L. 184, 5 cm.
Private collection, on deposit at Tate Britain since 1989, London, Tate
Mary Bate-Dudley was married to Gainsborough's friend and champion, Henry Bate-Dudley. She's shown here in a romantic woodland setting, leaning on a classical pedestal and an urn. Her pose is languid yet statuesque and the gesture of her left hand suggests a refined sensibility. Unusually in Gainsborough's art, Lady Bate-Dudley's head is shown in profile. This is a dramatic ploy intended to elevate the painting beyond the everyday world of conventional portraiture to the realm of High Art.