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Edward and William Tomkinson

about 1784
83 3/8 x 59 7/8 in. (211.77 x 152.08 cm)

Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727–1788)

Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Bequest of Charles Phelps Taft and Anna Sinton Taft
Accession Number: 1931.412

Presumably commissioned by a family member of William Tomkinson [born 1772] and Edward Tomkinson [1773-1819], the sitters, before 1784; created by the artist, by March 1785; by descent to Rev. James Tomkinson, Dorfold Hall, Cheshire; by descent to Anne Tomkinson [died 1871], daughter of the previous and wife of Wilbraham Spencer Tollemache [1807-1890], Dorfold Hall, Cheshire [1]; gift to Henry James Tollemache [1846-1939], son of the previous, Dorfold Hall, Cheshire by 1888; (purchased by Agnew’s); purchased by Ludwig Neumann [1859-1934], Grosvenor Square, London, about 1897. Acquired by Asher Wertheimer [1844-1918], London. (Purchased by Agnew's, London, May 16, 1906). (Purchased by Scott and Fowles, New York, NY, June 30, 1906); purchased by Charles Phelps Taft [1843-1929] and Anna Sinton Taft [1850-1931], Cincinnati, OH, February 11, 1907; donated to the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts, Cincinnati, OH, May 21, 1927 [2]; transferred to the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH, September 1, 2006 [3].


[1]. According to Belsey 2019, Anne Tomkinson was the sitter Edward Tomkinson’s niece. [2]. The Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts (CIFA) was formed by Charles Phelps Taft and Anna Sinton Taft on March 22, 1927 as a non-profit corporation to stimulate the development of art and music in the City of Cincinnati and run the Taft Museum of Art, which opened in 1932. The Tafts offered $1 million for a permanent endowment fund, on the condition that the community raise $2.5 million in matching funds, which was achieved by December 3, 1928. [3]. Until August 31, 2006, the Museum was owned by CIFA, administered by CIFA’s Board of Trustees, and governed by the Taft Museum Board of Overseers. On September 1, 2006, the Museum legally separated from CIFA and began operations as its own incorporated 501(c)(3) entity. This separate incorporation led to the transfer to the separate entity after August 31, 2006 of all tangible assets comprising the Taft collection.

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