Thomas Gainsborough - The painter's daughtersOil on canvas, 1759,  63 x 76 cm, National Gallery in London

How pretty!


Description and interpretation of the famous painting The Daughters of the Painter by Thomas Gainsborough!

Thomas Gainsborough - The painter's daughters

Elder daughter Mary puts her arm around her younger sister Margaret. She holds a kitten in her arms, which the painter indicates with only a few outlines. Both daughters of the famous painter should have a difficult life ahead of them. Due to the influence of their father, they had access to high society, but were never really accepted by it. Later they should even be considered "unmarriageable". Nevertheless, Mary finally married a less successful oboe player, but the marriage did not last long. Mary, on the other hand, should suffer from a mental illness. In old age the sisters finally lived together again.

Here, however, both girls are young and pretty. Her porcelain-like complexion and noble clothes underline the grace of the children and the loving eyes through which he looks at them. Their father placed them in a pastel environment, reminiscent of the courtly elegance of other portraits of the nobility.

The sisters' similarity is unmistakable, yet Gainsborough placed great emphasis on reproducing the individual traits of the girls. Thus the round eyes of the elders differ from the almond-shaped eyes of the younger ones. It also has rounder lips. The eyebrows are bent differently and the hairstyles also differ. Mary, the elder, wears hair ornaments, her hair is slightly upright, while Margaret's hair is close fitting.

Gainsborough liked to paint his pretty daughters. They are recurring models in his paintings. This, however, stands out due to the intensive atmosphere and the penetrating views of the children.

© the artinspector / alexandra tuschka