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Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88)

Study for 'Cornard Wood' c. 1748

Black chalk and pencil | 32.7 x 34.1 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 931555

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This drawing is a previously unidentified study for Gainsborough’s best-known landscape painting, Cornard Wood. The drawing proved the key to the reattribution of all 25 drawings to Thomas Gainsborough. All of the main elements of the finished painting can be seen in the sheet, with the central bank of trees and path winding across the middle ground. Gainsborough squared the drawing to enable him to transfer the composition from this sheet to a larger canvas, and spots of oil suggest that he kept it close to hand while working on the painting.