OIL PAINTING: Mary, Countess of Howe, 1764
In some of Gainsborough's later portrait paintings of women, Gainsborough dispensed with precise finish, and, without sacrificing the likeness, he concentrated on the general effect. Mary, Countess of Howe melts into the landscape, while Lady Bate Dudley, a symphony in blue and green, is an insubstantial form, almost an abstract. Mrs. Siddons, on the other hand, shows that Gainsborough could still paint a splendid objective study. Few of the later male portraits of Gainsborough are of a pronounced character, but exceptions are two particularly good pictures of musicians, Johann Christian Fischer and the unfinished Lord Abingdon (private collection).