(b. 1727, Sudbury, d. 1788, London)

Mary, Countess of Howe

Oil on canvas, 244 x 152,4 cm
Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London

Together with Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough was one of the artists who carried English landscape painting to its greatest heights in the 18th century. Portaiture and landscape were the two most important genres in 18th-century English art and became a symbol of national identity. Gainsborough worked in both genres with great success owing to the quality of his work. Indeed, he combined the two genres by using landscape backgrounds for his portraits.