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Drawings by famous painter Thomas Gainsborough discovered at Windsor Castle

David Lee

David Lee

Drawings by famous artist Thomas Gainsborough have been discovered in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.

The collection of 25 sketches had been stored in the Print Room at the Queen’s residence in an album lettered ‘Sketches by Sir E Landseer’.

But recent research by leading art historian Lindsay Stainton has confirmed that the black-and-white chalk pieces actually belong to the 18th century portrait painter.

Rosie Razzall, curator of prints and drawings at Royal Collection Trust, said: “This is a very significant discovery, as very few drawings from Gainsborough’s early career survive.

“We have long suspected the sketches may have been by Gainsborough’s hand. Lindsay’s discovery has helped to make a convincing case for the reattribution of these drawings to the artist.”

Born in 1727, Gainsborough was a founding member of the Royal Academy and became a favourite painter of King George III.

Queen Victoria acquired his drawings from the studio of Sir Edwin Landseer in April 1874.

Landseer is an artist best known for making the bronze lions in London’s Trafalgar Square.

In 1995, they were reassessed and catalogued as ‘from the circle of Gainsborough or the Norwich School’ as the attribution to Landseer appeared to be unfounded.

They are on French and Dutch paper of the 1740s and are drawn in Gainsborough’s early style and depict scenes that he knew from his early 20s.

Several of the pieces contain oil stains from materials that he had to hand in his studio while painting.

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