The paintings date from Gainsborough's early Bath period and clearly show the emergence of a new phase in his style.

On arriving at Bath, he set himself to remodel his portrait style and to develop a new quality of elegance which would appeal to the aristocratic and fashionable society at the Spa. Although he did not lose his informal charm of style, his work began to show a greater perceptiveness. Although these portraits bear the inscriptions 'Edward Popham, MP for Wilts' and 'Ann Popham, afterwards Mrs Leyborne Popham', these are certainly incorrect, and it is fairly certain that they represent Anne Popham, the heiress of Littlecote in Wiltshire who became Mrs William Leyborne, and her husband.

Provenance

The Popham family.


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