Charity Relieving Distress

Gainsborough Dupont (British, 1754-1797)

Currently on View in C300
Image Licensing

Gainsborough Dupont, nephew and assistant of Thomas Gainsborough, painted this copy after a work by his uncle while working in the latter's studio in the mid-1780s. In this painting, a young woman and five small children receive alms at the back door of a wealthy household. It has been argued that Gainsborough's interest in painting images of the rural poor derives from ongoing debates about changes in the agricultural economy that resulted in the displacement and impoverishment of country-dwellers.

It is undoubtedly true, though a phenomenon of the human mind difficult to account for, that the representation of distress frequently gives pleasure.-J. and A.L. Aikin, 1773

Provenance research is on-going at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Curator of European Art, at if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.

Object Information

Gainsborough Dupont (British, 1754-1797)
creation date
about 1784
oil on canvas
50-1/4 x 40-1/4 in.
accession number
credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Ball
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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