Thomas Gainsborough’s earliest known self-portrait to be sold at auction

Sam Russell, PA
·1-min read

The earliest known self-portrait by 18th-century British painter Thomas Gainsborough is to be sold at auction.

Gainsborough (1727-88) is thought to have created the artwork aged 13 in 1740, soon after moving to London from Sudbury in Suffolk.

The artwork is to be sold at auction at Cheffins in Cambridge, where it is expected to fetch more than £40,000.

Nicolas Martineau, an associate in the fine art team at Cheffins, said: “This painting represents an exciting glimpse into Gainsborough’s early career and is the first of a series of self-portraits made throughout his life, as well as being thought by scholars to be one of his earliest attempts at working in oil.

“The picture shows an important step in Gainsborough’s development to becoming the leading portraitist in 18th-century England and it is a privilege to be offering it here at Cheffins in his native East Anglia.”

Gainsborough was a weaver’s son who became a founding member of the Royal Academy.

Among his portraits were King George III and Queen Charlotte.

The self-portrait had been held by a London-based private collection since 2008 and has previously been exhibited at Tate Britain, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

It is to be sold as part of The Fine Sale at Cheffins in Cambridge on April 21.