Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci (1734–1790)

Image credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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Giusto Tenducci was a celebrated Italian singer who moved to England from 1758. He was noted for his vanity and an extravagance which left him continually dodging his creditors. Here he is shown performing, perhaps in a domestic setting. A raised eyebrow suggests that he has hit the sort of high note associated with a castrato singer. Gainsborough was a keen musician and he painted many portraits of his musical friends as gifts or as show pieces. The painting is unfinished and the existence of another completed version in a private collection suggests that the artist perhaps abandoned this canvas and began again.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts



Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci (1734–1790)




oil on canvas


H 76.6 x W 64 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1944

Work type



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The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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