The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 17, 2024

Mrs. Sarah Siddons

Mrs. Sarah Siddons

1785
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

The sitter for this portrait, Sarah Siddons, was the subject of a competition between Thomas Gainsborough and his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds, who exhibited a portrait of the actress at the Royal Academy the year before this drawing was made.

Description

Although Thomas Gainsborough produced about a thousand portraits in oil, the artist typically worked directly on the canvas rather than making preparatory drawings of his sitters. This study, so closely related to the artist’s finished painting of the famous actress Mrs. Sarah Siddons, is highly unusual. One scholar has hypothesized that because the portrait was not made on commission but conceived for an exhibition in his studio, Gainsborough may have had only a single sitting with the celebrated actress, and knew he would he would have to rely on the drawing as a basis for the finished work.
  • ?-?
    R. P. Roupell, London
    1887
    (sale, Christie's, London, July 14, 1887, no. 1331, sold to Thibaudeau)
    1887-?
    Thibaudeau
    ?-1917
    Henry J. Pfungst, London
    1917
    (sale, Christie's, London, June 15, 1917, no. 30, sold to Connell)
    1917-?
    Connell
    ?-by 1933
    Andrew T. Reid, Auchterarder
    after 1933-?
    (Oscar and Peter Johnson Fine Art, London)
    ?-1976
    (Otto Wertheimer Gallery, Paris, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH)
    1976-
    Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
    Provenance Footnotes
    1 As Study for the Portrait of a Lady.
  • Reid, Andrew T. The Collection of Pictures Formed by Andrew T. Reid of Auchterarder. Glasgow: Andrew T. Reid, 1933. Mentioned and reproduced: V, 5
    Hayes, John. The Drawings of Thomas Gainsborough. New Haven: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, 1971. Mentioned: vol. 1, pp. 128-9, no. 64
    The Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook of the Cleveland Museum of Art/1978. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978. Reproduced: p. 193 archive.org
    Johnson, Mark M. Idea to Image: Preparatory Studies from the Renaissance to Impressionism. Exh. Cat. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1980. Mentioned: pp. 56-59, no. 67; Reproduced: p. 57
    Breitman, Ellen. Art and the Stage. Exh. Cat. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1981. Mentioned: p. 41; Reproduced: fig. 7
    Egerton, Judy. The British School. London: National Gallery Publications, 1998. Mentioned: p. 166; Reproduced: fig. 1
    Radford, Ron. Island to Empire: 300 Years of British Art, 1550-1850. Exh. Cat. Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2005. Mentioned and reproduced: p. 152
    Lemonedes, Heather. British Drawings: The Cleveland Museum of Art. Exh. Cat. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2013. Mentioned: pp. 38-41, 145-6, no. 9b; Reproduced: p. 41
  • British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art . The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 10-May 26, 2013).
    National Schools of Style. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (June 14-September 18, 1983).
    Northern European Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (November 16, 1982-January 9, 1983).
    18th Century Master Drawings. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (October 6-November 22, 1981).
    Idea to Image: Preparatory Studies from the Renaissance to Impressionism. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (February 19-March 23, 1980).
    Year in Review, 1976. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 1-March 6, 1977).
  • {{cite web|title=Mrs. Sarah Siddons|url=false|author=Thomas Gainsborough|year=1785|access-date=17 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

Source URL:

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1976.6