"Thomas Linley (1733-1795) gained an outstanding reputation in eighteenth-century Bath and London as a musician and musical entrepreneur. A notable teacher, he especially succeeded in training his own gifted family as musicians. He was a close friend of Gainsborough, who painted several members of the family.

Linley was also a well known composer, and here he holds his Elegies for Three Voices, printed in 1770. In 1776 he moved from Bath to London, to work as musical director of the Drury Lane Theatre.
Painted in a light pastel-like technique, the portrait conveys something of Linley’s ‘dark, stern, gigantic’ manner."


  • Title: Thomas Linley the elder
  • Date: Late 1760s
  • Physical Dimensions: w635 x h765 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Nationality: British
  • Support: Canvas
  • Provenance: Bath, Linley family; bequethed to DPG by William Linley, 1835.
  • Further Information: "Thomas Linley the elder (1733-95) was the father of eight musical children, seven of whom are represented in portraits at Dulwich. Thomas Gainsborough had been a friend of the family since 1759 and made numerous portraits of members of the family. Here, Gainsborough endows his friend with graceful airs whilst also referencing his musical capabilities by including Linley’s music sheets. "
  • Artist: Gainsborough, Thomas
  • Acquisition Method: Linley, William (Bequest, 1835)

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