Charity Relieving Distress

Creation date
oil on canvas
50-1/4 x 40-1/4 in.
Credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Ball
Accession number
Currently On View

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, and information will be added to this record as research is completed. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Assoc. Curator of Research, at with any questions.
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