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A chalk sketch of two dogs was made by Gainsborough (c. 1780s). The precise date is unknown, but Gainsborough died in 1788.

In 1827, Richard J. Lane (1800-1872), the grandson of Gainsborough's sister, Susan Gardiner, did a reverse lithograph of the Gainsborough chalk sketch. A book was prepared for the Fall 2006 Gainsborough House art exhibition entitled Gainsborough's Dogs. A copy of the lithograph, listed as being 7-3/16 x 5-3/16 inches in size, appeared in the book.

Apparently the Gainsboroughs always called their pet dogs by the same names. Tristram belonged to his wife, Margaret, while Fox was the name for his favorite dog. In the image below, Tristram, appeared to be similar to a Beardie-like dog though the catalogue identified Tristram as being a water-spaniel.

It has also been suggested that Gainsborough's family members may have made a mistake in identifying the dogs in the chalk sketch as being Tristram and Fox. Why? Because Gainsborough painted an oil entitled "Two Dogs called 'Tristram and Fox'" c. 1775, which is in the collection of the Tate Museum. The dogs appearing in the oil painting are entirely two different types from the two dogs shown below.

But then again, if the Gainsboroughs always called their pet dogs by the same names, they could have owned two different dogs from the ones he previously owned and painted. After all, this sketch was dated as being rendered in the 1780s, which would have been several years after the oil painting was completed (c1775).

In 1780, a painting was completed where a Beardie-like dog, similar to the drawing above, was completed by Thomas Gainsborough. Was it a Beardie-like?

An artist's study, from 1783, was bought in 2000 by Spink-Leger. It was entitled "Study for Upland Landscape." Gainsborough used this study in 1784 to paint an oil on canvas entitled "Landscape with Shepherd and Flock." This painting is located in the Munich art museum Neue Pinakothek. What is interesting about the painting was the dog standing next to the shepherd. The dog resembles a stumpy-tailed Bearded Collie when enlarged. There was, and is, a strain of Beardies called "stumpies." A few stumpies are still being bred as recently as the year 2005. Also, there are many sheepdogs that had their tails docked besides the Old English Sheepdog. But to say the dog below was a Beardie-like canine would only be speculation.

Gainsborough also painted on glass. One of his paintings "Open Landscape with Shepherd, Sheep and Pool" is located in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was dated c. 1786. According to the museum, Gainsborough's rough copy of this composition was made in reverse. The Gainsborough glass painting collection never leaves the Victoria and Albert Museum due to its being too fragile to withstand shipping. Looking at an enlarged view of a small section of the painting, one sees the outline of a Beardie-like dog. It has a blackish shaggy coat, with white on the face, tail, around its collar, and on at least one leg. One needs a magnifying glass to see this, but hopefully the viewer can see in the image below that the shepherd was sitting down. The painting is only partially presented here. The Beardie-like dog may have just been commanded to go out and round up the flock as the sheep in the entire picture seem to be moving in a northwesterly direction in relationship to the dog (assuming that the dog was heading northward at the beginning of its outrun.) But again, it is only speculation that this was an early representation of a Beardie-like dog.

Thomas Gainsborough not only sketched and painted landscapes, he collected them for use in his own home. Therefore, most of them were never for sale until after his death. He had seen landscape works done by seventeenth-century Dutch painters—artists like Hobbema, Jacob van Ruisdael, etc. In fact, he copied and repaired some of those paintings. It is reported that he exhibited his work annually at his London residence from 1784 until his death in August 1788.

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