This rare and important landscape is an unusually grand composition in which Gainsborough has fused his developing rococo style with the classical tradition of the Dutch Italianates. The drawing is dated 1759 and the nature of the countryside depicted suggests that it was executed after his move to Bath.
John Hayes states that the inscription beneath the picture indicates that it was intended for engraving. In comparison to all of his other landscape drawings of the period, the artist has used a combination of media to demonstrate a subtlety and tonality that is not present within the other works. Not only does his use of grey washes, pencil and ink create a finished landscape masterpiece but its purpose may well have been to illustrate to the engravers the depth and tonal subtleties that he required from them.
Whereas the original drawings for the existing engravings are missing, this drawing seems to have survived because it was not engraved.
Auction, Marlborough, Wiltshire, c. 1947-8
D J Morris Esq
Ellis Waterhouse, Gainsborough, London 1958, page 18
John Hayes, The Drawings of Thomas Gainsborough, A Zwemmer Ltd, London 1970, vol I, pages 34, 38, 42, 49, 60 and 165, catalogue number 243; vol II, page 356, plate number 77