Gainsborough, Thomas. 1727-1788

Woman in Blue

Great Britain, late 1770s - early 1780s

Gainsborough's portrait of this unknown lady is rightly regarded as one of the most charming and excellent works in the Hermitage collection of English painting. Although the artist did not in fact like painting portraits, preferring to work on landscapes, it is for his portraits that he was best loved and is best known today. Here he created an image of great elegance and beauty, a painting dominated by a mood of romantic dreaminess. The light, mobile, melting brushstrokes convey the soft skin, the greyish-blue silk of the shawl, and the luxuriant feather of the headdress which surmounts the powdered wig. Free, sketchy painting is combined with fine transitions of colour to create an effect something akin to pastel. Gainsborough's style was noted and much admired by contemporaries, and even his great rival, the President of the Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds, admitted his skill.


Woman in Blue






76,5x63,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1916; a gift from A.Z. Khitrovo

Inventory Number:




User collections including this work of art: