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0120170807

A legacy from his uncle gives 13-year-old Thomas the means to go to London to study art.

A legacy from his uncle gives 13 year old Thomas Gainsborough the means to leave Sudbury and travel to London where the arts and crafts are flourishing. He studies engraving with Gravelot and finds work decorating the entertainment kiosks in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

Reader: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Directed by Kate McAll

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0220170808

Gainsborough begins to get important portrait commissions.

After his apprenticeship in London, Gainsborough returns to Suffolk. Now grown up, he is married to a woman with a private income. A confident and accomplished artist, he begins to attract important portrait commissions.

Reader: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Directed by Kate McAll

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0320170809

Gainsborough moves to Bath to paint portraits of wealthy tourists.

Gainsborough moves to Bath where having your portrait painted was the favourite pastime of many visitors to the city. Always keen to make money where he can, he also takes full advantage of the flourishing buy-to-let market.

Reader: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Directed by Kate McAll

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0420170811

Gainsborough is observed in his studio using some unusual painting techniques.

Gainsborough continues to hone his painterly skills In his studio he works by candlelight to create mood, and paints on a loose flapping canvas, like a sail. For his landscapes he creates elaborate models using broccoli.

But the costs of running an artist's studio are high and he is always anxious about money.

Reader: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Directed by Kate McAll

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0520170811

As he approaches the end, Gainsborough reconciles with an old rival.

For his final years Thomas Gainsborough returns to London where he paints over 100 portraits and 30 landscapes. Knowing that he's dying, he summons his old rival Joshua Reynolds and, on his deathbed, his wife Margaret makes a surprising revelation.

Reader: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Directed by Kate McAll

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.