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Gainsborough's Georgian England

Catherine Bott meets art historian Michael Rosenthal to discover what Thomas Gainsborough's paintings of musical subjects tell us about 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 included many musicians as friends, and 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.

1 hour

Music Played

  • John Hebden

    Concerto for Strings No 3 in E major – III Gigue

    Performers: Angus Anderson/Helena Moroney (violins), Cantilena directed by Adrian Shepherd

    • CHANDOS.
    • CHAN 8339.
  • Thomas Arne

    "Honour, riches, marriage-blessing"

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

    • HYPERION.
    • CDA 67450.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Acis and Galatea: overture

    Performers: Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (director)

    • ERATO.
    • 3984-25505-2.
  • 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)

    • MD&G.
    • MDG 50511272.
  • 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 Sebastian 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 directed by Paul Nicholson

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