Thomas Gaugain after Barker
A GIRL GOING TO MARKET [&] A BOY RETURNING FROM FISHING
21 x 26 inches
A pair of colour printed stipple plate engravings by Thomas Gaugain after the paintings by Barker, published in London circa 1800.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century there was a huge fascination amongst the ruling classes with rustic life and a yearning to return to the simple virtues of a perceived bucolic idyll. This was set against a backdrop of revolution in France, severe deprivation in the English countryside and an impenetrable gulf between the fortunes of the peasant classes and the aristocratic elite. The hardships and grim reality of rural life were ignored as artists clamoured to depict a romanticised vision of pastoral bliss. Both Westall and Gaugain are well known exponents of this genre and these accomplished studies of a milkmaid and a ploughboy are delightful examples of their collaborative work.
Thomas Gaugain was actually born in France in 1748 but appears to have arrived in England at a very young age. From around 1780 onwards he devoted himself to the art of stipple engraving on copper and produced some of the finest prints of this method. He lived in Little Compton Street in Soho and died in London around 1805.