Exhibition | Gravelot: Designing Georgian Britain

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 12, 2016


Now on view at Gainsborough House:

Gravelot: Designing Georgian Britain
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk, 27 February — 5 June 2016

Hubert-François Bourguignon, better known as Gravelot, was one of the most influential designers of the eighteenth century. Born in Paris in 1699, he studied in Rome before returning to the French capital and working under the painter François Boucher. In 1732 he emigrated to London, where he remained until 1745. During this period he played a central role in introducing Rococo style into British art and design and was drawing master to the young Thomas Gainsborough RA.

This exhibition draws upon the impressive body of work by Gravelot in the Gainsborough’s House permanent collection. It showcases his extraordinary versatility as a draughtsman, which the eighteenth-century commentator on art George Vertue described as “a great and fruitful genius for designs.” The prints and drawings that feature in the display demonstrate Gravelot’s ability to operate across a variety of categories, producing work for a wide array of media: from book illustrations, graphic satire and printed ephemera, to snuff boxes, walking canes, silverware, medals and other forms of material culture. They also reveal the diverse sources from which Gravelot derived inspiration: from contemporary life and politics, to the natural world, historical narratives and classical literature.

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