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Juliana (Howard) , Baroness Petre

Date: 1788
88 3/4 x 57 1/4 in. (225.4 x 145.4 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Object Number: 11.25
Label Text:The Huntington has a distinguished collection of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, one of the greatest portrait painters of 18th-century Britain. In this work, he presents Lady Petre, a glamorous teenage newlywed, renowned for her style and beauty. She wears a striking blue petticoat, black fringed shawl, and oversized black hat. Gainsborough accentuated the slenderness of her waist by giving a pointed center to the sash wrapped around it, and by amplifying the contrasting fullness of her skirt.

This portrait, one of the last Gainsborough painted before his death, features some of his most dazzling brushwork. Lilting arabesques of yellow paint convey the transparency of Lady Petre’s gauzy scarf, while energetic slashes create shimmering highlights. The vigorously painted landscape echoes the effects of the drapery, with streaks of light glimmering amid stormy clouds and dense foliage.