How you can use this image
This image can be used for non-commercial research or private study purposes, and other UK exceptions to copyright permitted to users based in the United Kingdom under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised. Any other type of use will need to be cleared with the rights holder(s).
Review the copyright credit lines that are located underneath the image, as these indicate who manages the copyright (©) within the artwork, and the photographic rights within the image.
The collection that owns the artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.
Review our guidance pages which explain how you can reuse images, how to credit an image and how to find images in the public domain or with a Creative Commons licence available.
Buy a print or image licence
You can purchase this reproduction
If you have any products in your basket we recommend that you complete your purchase from Art UK before you leave our site to avoid losing your purchases.
Add or edit a note on this artwork that only you can see. You can find notes again by going to the ‘Notes’ section of your account.
John Joseph Merlin, the ‘Ingenious Mechanick,’ was famed in the latter decades of the 18th century for being a prolific inventor, musical-instrument maker, horologist and performer. Here, Gainsborough portrays Merlin as a respectable society gentleman, his right hand gently tucked into his jacket – a customary gesture to signify a polite yet firm manner. From a green silk tassel in his left hand hangs one of his inventions; a pocket-size beam balance for determining the weight and value of gold guineas.
oil on canvas
H 76.2 x W 63.5 cm
purchased from Princess Hohenlohe-Longenburg with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund, the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of Kenwood, 1983