• This drawing dates from the last years of Gainsborough's life when, owing to continued skirmishes with the Hanging Committee, he refused to exhibit his works at the Royal Academy. His paintings and drawings (as well as the innovative oil paintings on glass that the artist was creating during this period) became more generalized than before; examples such as the present drawing sometimes come closer to suggesting rather than truly representing forms, and they are often set in an imaginary world of picturesque castles and winding roads. In some areas of this drawing the black and white chalk has been blended and softened with the artist's fingertips, or perhaps with a coil of felt or leather known as a stump. The only color in the composition is the blue paper support, which has faded to gray in the sky, making the mass of white clouds above the distant mountain stand out more brightly. This use of blue paper harkens back to the earliest days of Gainsborough's career, when he adopted this habit from his first teacher, the French draftsman Gravelot.
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  • Wooded Landscape with Castle