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Gainsborough's Georgian England

Catherine Bott and art historian Michael Rosenthal explore what Thomas Gainsborough's paintings of musical subjects reveal about the role of music in late 18th century England.

Thomas Gainsborough had a deep love of music and many of his portraits include musical themes. He was himself a keen amateur player of the gamba and he had many musicians as friends, and feautured them as subjects for his portraits. Catherine Bott meets art historian and author of several books on the artist, Michael Rosenthal of Warwick University, for an exploration of what the Gainsborough portraits tell us about the role of music in the late 18th Century. The programme includes comment about Gainsborough's portraits of Karl Friedrich Abel; Johann Christian Bach; and the Linley family, as well as paintings of some notable amateurs from the English gentry such as William Wollaston and the redoubtable Anne Ford.

58 minutes

Music Played

  • John Hebden

    Concerto for Strings No 3 in E major – 3rd movement (Gigue)

    Performers: Angus Anderson, Helena Moroney (violins), Cantilena, Adrian Shepherd (director)

    • CHANDOS CHAN 8339.
  • Thomas Arne

    "Honour, riches, marriage-blessing"

    Performers: Catherine Bott (soprano), Parley of Instruments, Peter Holman (director)

    • HYPERION CDA 67450.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Overture to 'Acis and Galatea'

    Performers: Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (director)

    • ERATO 3984-25505-2.
  • Francesco Geminiani

    3 Scotch Airs with Variations from "A Treatise of Good Taste in the Art of Music": No.1 -

    Performers: Axel Wolf (lute), Brian Berryman (flute), Eckhart Kuper (harpsichord)

  • Joseph Gibbs

    Violin Sonata No.1

    Performers: Locatelli Trio [Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello), Paul Nicholson (harpsichord)]

    • HYPERION CDA 66583.
  • Karl Friedrich Abel - Vivace for six string bass viol (abridged)

    Performer: Susanne Heinrich (viol)

  • James Oswald

    Divertimento for English Guitar No 9

    Performer: Rob MacKillop (English Guitar)

    • ASV CD GAU 221.
  • Johann Christian Bach

    Keyboard Concerto in F minor III - Prestissimo

    Performers: Anthony Halstead (keyboard), The Hanover Band

    • CPO 999 462-2.
  • Thomas Linley

    Cantata: "In Yonder Grove" – Air: "Tune Philomel"

    Performers: Julia Gooding (soprano), The Parley of Instruments, Paul Nicholson (director)

    • HYPERION CDA 66767.