Haymaker and Sleeping Girl
Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727–1788)
Overall: 227.3 x 149.9 cm (89 1/2 x 59 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Gallery (Gallery 246)
The existence of a preparatory drawing indicates that Gainsborough took particular pains with this composition. Although apparently about erotic desire, the painting also offers a deeper meditation on longing and regret. The young woman’s pale skin and refined clothing suggest that she is not a country girl, whereas the hay in the youth’s hat and rake reveal that he has paused in his labors. The young man is separated from the object of his desire by social class as well as by the fence; the terrier will soon bark and shatter the young man’s idyllic reverie. Gainsborough Dupont, the artist’s nephew and apprentice, chose this painting when offered any work in his uncle’s studio.
1788, gift of the artist to his nephew, Gainsborough Dupont (b. 1754 - d. 1797); April 1, 1797, Dupont sale, Christie's, London, lot 103, bought in by Crofts [see note 1]; by descent within the family to his nephew, Richard Gainsborough Dupont; June 8, 1872, Dupont sale, Christie's, London, lot 67, to White. By 1891, William Houldsworth, Halifax, Yorkshire; May 23, 1891, Houldsworth sale, Christie's, London, lot 60, to Agnew's, London (stock no. 5987); between 1903 - 1905, sold by Agnew's to Lord James Joicey, 1st Baron Joicey, Chester-Le-Street, Durham [see note 2]; about 1907, sold by Joicey to E.M. Hodgkins, Paris; from Hodgkins to Samuel G. Archibald, Paris and Montreal; March 30, 1951, posthumous Archibald sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, lot 249, to Cecil G. Doward, New York for $1800 [see note 3]. By 1953, Vose Galleries, Boston; 1953, sold by Vose Galleries to the MFA for $15,000. (Accession Date: December 10, 1953)
 See The Fifth Volume of the Walpole Society, 1915-16 and 1916-1917, Ed. A.J. Finberg, pg. 96, no. 103 and pg. 98, footnote 1.
 See Century of Loan Exhibitions, Agnew's, 1903, no. 21. According to Vose, the work was possibly exhibited by Joicey in London/Glasgow in 1905.
 According to sale catalogue annotation, the painting probably went directly from Doward to Vose.
M. Theresa B. Hopkins Fund and Seth K. Sweetser Fund