February 02, 2004
Gainsborough's mentally unstable daughters

This is The Painter's Daughters Chasing a Butterfly, which Johnson says was done in 1759. He calls it …

… a loving miracle of fatherly pride by Gainsborough, overshadowed by the fact that both Mary and Margaret inherited their mother's mental instability.

I never knew that.

There's no doubt about it, this quota posting foolishness forces me to learn things. Quite what you punters make of this procedure I have no idea, but luckily for me I'm not that bothered.

I found this version here, where there are more Gainsboroughs to be found, including another even more (I rather think) famous one of the two daughters (which I own in picture post card form), and one of J. C. Bach, which is something else I didn't know about.

I encountered further proof today of the extreme degree to which my tastes in paintings seem to resemble those of the general public, in the form of a poster on the Underground advertising the Philip Guston exhibition at the Royal Academy that I wrote about here. They used the exact same picture for the poster that I picked out as my favourite.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:32 PM
Category: Painting