The theme of the cottage door epitomised Gainsborough's attitude towards the countryside in the age of enclosures and the erosion of traditional rural values, a theme which preoccupied the artist for much of his later life,.

Gainsborough's chief love was landscape. Much of his time was devoted to to its pursuit, especially in the summer months when the pressures on him were fewer, and he continued to sketch from nature all his life. Purchased after a public campaign by the museum.


Wilbraham Tollemache, 6th Earl of Dysart, 1786; by descent to Bentley, 3rd Lord Tollemache; Tollemache Estates sale Christie's 1953; Sir James Caird; by descent.

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