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DateLecture
08 January 2020Thomas Gainsborough - Portraits in a Landscape
12 February 2020St. Pancras and Friends - a Journey through London's Stations
11 March 2020The Art of the Steal - Nazi Looting during WWII
08 April 2020A Rebel on the Run - Caravaggio's final Years
13 May 2020India - the Imperial Legacy, Temples, Forts, Palaces
10 June 2020The Dowager Empress CIXI (1835-1908) - Ruling from behind the Yellow Silk Screen
08 July 2020The Della Robbia Family - Sculptors and Potters of Renaissance Florence
09 September 2020John Singer Sargent - A Life through Pictures
14 October 2020Coventry Cathedral - Icon and Inspiration
11 November 2020American Glamour - 150 Years of Tiffany & Co's Jewellery

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Thomas Gainsborough - Portraits in a Landscape Sarah Stopford Wednesday 08 January 2020

Gainsborough matched his conviction that painting should be about sensation and direct experience of the visual world with an acute awareness of the character of his sitters who inhabited that world.  In the process of recording their humanity he liked to mask the context of clients “sitting” for a portrait and set them instead out walking in invented romantic landscapes.  He associated landscape painting with ease and tranquillity and in his final years claimed “I am sick of portraits and wish very much to take my Viol da Gamba (cello) and walk off to some sweet village where I can paint landscapes and enjoy the fag end of life in quietness and ease”.

Sarah Stopford is a guide at Tate Britain and Tate Modern.  Studied art history as part of her first degree at Harvard.  After a further degree in English at Cambridge and a career as a teacher of English literature in both the United States and England, she has returned to the world of art history where her special interests are in British and post-1900 art as well as the connections between literature and the visual arts.