Gainsborough excelled as a portrait and landscape painter. He was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, and trained in London. He became a highly successful artist, first in Ipswich, then in Bath. He concentrated on portraiture to make a living and continued to build on the grand manner of Van Dyck, but also introduced a refreshing informality through his imaginative landscape backgrounds and his fluid, lively brushwork. Gainsborough was a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768 and returned to London in 1774. He was artistically and temperamentally quite different from his rival Reynolds, but the two artists developed a sincere mutual respect.