Monday, August 23, 2010

Upcoming Exhibition: Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman

Art, fashion, and scandalous ladies; does it get any better than that? 

On 18 September The Cincinnati Art Museum will be unveiling its new exhibition, Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman, a fun romp through the beautifully painted women who sat for Gainsborough as put together by curator Benedict Luca.  Presiding as hostess would be the Cincinnati Art Museum's own Ann Ford (Mrs. Thickness) whom has just undergone a thorough cleaning.  Joining her will be the iconic Grace Dalyrymple Elliott, Viscountess Ligonier, Maria Fitzherbert, and Elizabeth Sheridan, among others.  Together these fabulous women rendered by Gainsborough  not only represent feisty females of the time but also an era of women taking possession of their own image.  The exhibition will "ask us to look anew at the formal specifics that made his portraits so important to ambitious women and their self-definition in the celebrity culture of the period."

It is only appropriate that period gowns will also be featured alongside the paintings; Gainsborough had a love of portraying couture unlike his rival, Joshua Reynolds, who preferred his female sitters in classical drapery.  Not only will the exhibition bring together an amazing collection of portraits but also some fabulous examples of fashion from the same period.  Visitors will be plunged headfirst into a the glamor of 18th century aristocratic life.

Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman will run at the Cincinnati Museum of Art from 18 September to 2 January and will then move to San Diego Museum of Art from 29 January to 1 May.  It promises to be a show not to be missed! Will you be attending?

Read more about the curator's journey through piecing together the exhibition together here announces Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman


  1. This sounds fabulous! I wish I lived closer-maybe I'll get lucky, and it'll eventually come to Boston! Thanks for the post!

  2. I'm facing the same problem! Let's cross our fingers for a stroke of good luck

  3. This is one I can actually get to easily! I'm in Columbus, OH, so I am very excited to hear this news. Thank you for the post!

  4. You'll HAVE to go! And do update us on how wonderful it is!

  5. Thanks for highlighting this exhibition. I'll be able to catch it when it is in San Diego and I'm already looking forward to it!!

  6. It's bound to be amazing, and I'll know you'll give us all the good details!

  7. Hey! I'm not that far from Cinci. Southeastern Michigan isn't that bad. I could do an overnighter.


    Without my quibbling family.

    *sigh* bliss...

  8. I live only 50 miles away.... I'll be going.

  9. I hope you will all come back with tales of how glorious it is! Maybe I could sit through a timeshare talk in order to book some plane tickets to Cincinnati...

  10. Wow, this looks wonderful! I only wish I could get there!

  11. I will go when it comes to San Diego. Hope to see some Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire's, Gossip Guide to the 18th century bloggers there!

  12. Many thanks for this news. I've written about Mrs. Thicknesse and her portrait before at the Two Nerdy History Girls, and I've just posted a link to this exhibition - with attribution to Your Grace, of course.

    Since the first blog earlier this year, we've heard from several ladies who are descendants of Ann Ford Thicknesse, and all of them are from Australia. Curious!

  13. How incredibly interesting! Now that is something I would be curious to investigate.

  14. I just got back from a trip to Cincy, made for the express purpose of seeing this exhibition!

    It was so wonderful!

    About 10 minutes after I wandered in to the gallery, who should come in but the curator himself, who gave a talk about the paintings and Gainsborough. It was great!

    The paintings were breathtaking. There were six that were just about life-sized, one of his daughters, and a few portraits of just faces.

    There are some other Gainsboroughs elswhere in the museum, showing some of his landscape work, and the Cincinnati Art Museum owns one of the full-length portraits.

    It is a great art museum, and one could easily use a couple of days to see and enjoy everything.

    There was also this really fantastic exhibit of wedding gowns from (roughly) the 1860s on. Beautiful! I had such a girly day.

    Luckily for my husband, there was a small exhibit of medieval armor as well, so he could feel manly again... though he did enjoy the Gainsborough and the wedding dresses even.