England (1727 - 1788)
Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Nugent, 1764
oil on canvas
233.7 x. 154.9 cm
Gift of The Beaverbrook Foundation
While Thomas Gainsborough’s first love was landscape, he supported his family through commissions for portraits, which led to him being considered one of the great masters of eighteenth-century art. He painted Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Nugent in 1764. In 1929 art critic James Greig stated:
This is one of the most brilliant full-length portraits ever painted by Gainsborough, He was then 37 years of age but few of his later single portraits excel this one in general beauty of design or dramatic setting… The Director of the National Gallery ought to see this portrait and form forces with the National Art Collection Fund in an effort to prevent it from leaving England.
In the end, the National Gallery was not successful and Lord Beaverbrook was able to obtain the painting for his collection.