GOOCH, Thomas
(b. ca. 1750, London, d. 1802, Lyndhurst)


English painter. He was a London based painter principally of horses but also of cattle, dogs, shooting scenes and coaches, the latter often in very accurately depicted scenes of old London. Surprisingly little is known of the life of this highly talented artist although he was almost certainly a pupil of the important equestrian painter Sawrey Gilpin.

Much of his work was horse portraiture but he was sometimes drawn to the humorous, or included a moral theme to his paintings. The series of paintings entitled "The Life of a Racehorse" made him the first to promote a reforming message and their exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1783 was well enough received for him to engrave them in aquatint and publish them in 1790. They were remarkable in that they were the first to display human emotions in sporting scenes and consequently Gooch was a marked influence on Sir Edwin Landseer and other later Victorian animal painters.

Gooch was a prolific exhibitor at the Royal Academy (76 paintings in all) and was patronised by many of the leading members of the Scots and English aristocracy. In 1800 he was suffering from a paralytic stroke which affected his right hand. He died in Lyndhurst in 1802.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.