New Gainsborough for Munich's Alte Pinakothek

July 19 2022

Image of New Gainsborough for Munich's Alte Pinakothek

Picture: SDZ

The Alte Pinakothek in Munich has acquired a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough; Thomas Hibbert (1744-1819) was painted in 1785. It is a pair to the museum's portrait of Hibbert's wife, Sophia, which it has owned since the 1970s. The portrait of Thomas was until recently on loan to Gainsborough's House Museum in Suffolk. The purchase price was €1.8m.

The acquisition is notable given the sitter's association with the slave trade. Hibbert was an enthusiastic slave owner and slave trader, as was his much of his family: the Hibberts were one of the leading slave factorage businesses in Jamaica, selling slaves as they were disembarked from slave ships. They were also, not surprisingly, leading critics of the abolitionist movement. I can't imagine a UK institution wanting to acquire a likeness of a sitter so involved with slavery, not least spending €1.8m on one. More here in the Sud Deutsche Zeitung.

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