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Sketches in the Royal Collection re-attributed to Thomas Gainsborough
A squared-up study for an early painting by Gainsborough in the National Gallery, Cornard Wood. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

LONDON.- An album of 25 landscape drawings in the Royal Collection, which have been contained in an album lettered 'Sketches by Sir E Landseer', have now been re-attributed to Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88).

The sketches, stored in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, were acquired from the studio of Edwin Landseer (1803-73) by Queen Victoria in April 1874.

In 1995, the drawings were reappraised and catalogued as 'from the circle of Gainsborough or the Norwich School', as the attribution to Landseer appeared to be 'completely unfounded'.

More recently, further research by Lindsay Stainton (ex-British Museum and Gainsborough scholar) confirmed that one of the drawings is a squared-up study for an early painting by Gainsborough in the National Gallery, Cornard Wood. This discovery, combined with further evidence, has led to the belief that the sketches are by Gainsborough: they are on French and Dutch paper of the 1740s, are drawn in his early style, and several, including the Study for Cornard Wood, contain oil stains from the materials he had to hand in his studio while painting.

Rosie Razzall, Curator of Prints and Drawings said: 'This is a very significant discovery, as very few drawings from Gainsborough's early career survive. We have long suspected the sketches may have been by Gainsborough's hand, Lindsay's discovery has helped to make a convincing case for the reattribution of these drawings to the artist.'

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