Cheffins to Auction Gainsborough's Earliest Self-Portrait

April 1 2021

Image of Cheffins to Auction Gainsborough's Earliest Self-Portrait

Picture: Cheffins

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The auction house Cheffins in Cambridgeshire will be auctioning-off Thomas Gainsborough's earliest self-portrait later this month. It was created c.1740 when the artist was thirteen years old. The painting has been in a private collection since 2008 and was formerly with the art dealer Philip Mould. The press releases haven't provided a formal estimate, however, the figure £40,000 has been quoted.

The painting will be sold on 21st April 2021.

Update - Here's the official press release from the auction house.

It also explains a little more about the work's provenance:

The self-portrait has changed hands three times since 1974 when it was purchased from the estate of Ernest Albert Butcher (a descendant of Robert Butcher) in Australia by the collector, dealer and philanthropist Neville Podmore. It was subsequently purchased by Felder Old Master Paintings in 2001 and then Philip Mould, Historical Portraits, in 2005 before entering the collection of the current owner. It is not altogether clear how the picture was acquired by the Butcher family, but a possible explanation is that it was acquired by Robert Butcher, Steward to 4th Duke of Bedford (1710-1771). The Duke was one of Gainsborough’s earliest patrons and it’s believed that the artist and Butcher had direct dealings with each other whilst Gainsborough painted portraits of the Duke and Duchess in the 1760’s.

Update - The painting sold for £90,000 (hammer price) and the dealer Philip Mould has announced on Twitter that he was the lucky buyer of the work.

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