Gainsborough in London

Dr Susan Sloman

Publication Date:
23 March 2021
412 pages: 280 x 230 mm
214 colour and 22 black & white

  • Thomas Gainsborough’s (1727–88) London years, from 1774 to 1788, were the pinnacle and conclusion of his career. They coincided with the establishment of the Royal Academy, of which Gainsborough was a founding member, and the city’s ascendance as a centre for the arts. This is a ‘scrupulously detailed’ (Hugh Belsey), meticulously researched and readable account of how Gainsborough designed his home and studio and maintained a growing schedule of influential patrons, making a place for himself in the art world of late-18th-century London. New material about Gainsborough’s technique is based on examinations of his pictures and firsthand accounts by studio visitors. His fractious relationship with the Royal Academy and its exhibition culture is reexamined through the works he sent to its annual shows. The full range of Gainsborough’s art, from fashionable portraits to landscapes and fancy pictures, is addressed in this major contribution, ‘an enduring contribution not only to Gainsborough scholarship but also to the study of British art of the eighteenth century’ (Duncan Robinson, The Burlington Magazine).

    To read Susan Sloman’s blog post for Yale University Press introducing the book, please click here

  • ‘Those familiar with Sloman’s scholarship know that she is an exceptional researcher…[t]he story she tells of Gainsborough’s career in London is rich in information about both the city and the artist that will be new to many scholars…Beautifully designed with exceptional photography and colour fidelity, Sloman’s deeply informed guide to the final years of the artist’s life makes Gainsborough in London an invaluable book for both scholars of British art and for anyone curious about the social, cultural, and artistic world of eighteenth-century London.’

    Review by Ann Bermingham, Eighteenth-century Studies, vol. 56, no. 1, Fall 2022, pp. 147–49 PDF available here


    ‘…we must thank and congratulate Sloman on completing the second volume of what can only be described as the work of a lifetime. With her unparalleled knowledge of the artist and his oeuvre, her curatorial experience, her archival discoveries and, not least, her visual acuity, she has enlarged our understanding and appreciation of an artist we thought we knew well until we completed our reading of both Gainsborough in Bath and Gainsborough in London. Together they have made an enduring contribution not only to Gainsborough scholarship but also to the study of British art of the eighteenth century.’

    Review by Duncan Robinson in The Burlington Magazine, May 2022 (click images to enlarge)


    ‘A mine of information for anyone interested in the social history of London…Gainsborough in London offers a scholarly and readable appraisal of the artist’s masterpieces.’

    Review by Christopher Masters in World of Interiors September, 2021 (click image to enlarge)



    Review by Kirsten Tambling in Apollo, July/August 2021 (click image to enlarge)


    Review by Hugh Belsey in The Art Newspaper, April 2021 (click image to enlarge)


    Extract published in The Oldie, April 2021 (click image to enlarge)




  • Dr Susan Sloman FSA is an independent scholar and curator specialising in eighteenth-century studies. Gainsborough in London is the follow-up to her previous book, Gainsborough in Bath.

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