Mr and Mrs Andrews
Thomas Gainsborough

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Probably one the best known of Gainsborough's paintings. Not only is this a portrait of Mr and Mrs Andrews, it is also a statement about Mr Andrews wealth. Rather than sitting in the living room of their home the couple are painted under an oak tree on the estate. The oak tree was often painted in portraits of the landed gentry at this time as a symbol of the sitters longevity and stability within the system.
His wife is decorously gazing at her husband as he stands by her side, he is pictured with his hunting dog and rifle, a further reference to his status. The dog also looks adoringly up at his master making the him the focus of the painting. Though it must bwe said that the expressions of the sitters are at contrast with the peace of the scene, the expression on mr Andrews face is stern and the rifle and the hunting dog reinforce this sterness, while his wife has a faintly wooden expression. Can it be that the sitters were not really happy either with each other or the setting in which they are placed. It is well known that at this time couples were married advantageously rather than for love.