This study on Thomas Gainsborough concentrates on the early life and works of the great 18th-century artist. Gainsborough's talent was evident at a young age, and before he established himself as one of London's leading portrait artists he was able to indulge himself in his true passion, landscapes, as well as to provide portraits for a provincial clientele. Graced with the light and gentle shadows of the English countryside, these early works provided the foundation for much of Gainsborough's later work. However many of them, including the renowned "Mr and Mrs Andrews", and "His Daughters Chasing a Butterfly", can be called masterpieces in their own right. It was in Suffolk that the artist developed a naturalistic approach to portraiture by abandoning "conversation pieces" and painting instead a number of straightforward head-and-shoulder portraits. This volume features 80 colour and black-and-white reproductions of Gainsborough's paintings, etchings and drawings. They not only shed light on the development of one of England's most revered painters, but also offer an intimate look at the work of a young painter in the thrall of his subjects, and just beginning to realise his full talents.