He is seen standing, holding his sword to the ground, facing his left side with a slight confident smile on his face. Standing tall adjacent to Lord Ligonier is his white horse with curly black hair on its forehead, seemingly looking comfortable and confident like his master. Lord Ligonier and his horse both have their faces more radiant than other parts of their bodies and the background environment. The choice to include his horse in the portrait shows his love of horses. Lord Ligonier had the experience of being in the army and probably knew a lot about horses and how to handle them.
Thomas Gainsborough is famous for his level of quality in painting in-landscape portraits. Most of his paintings including Edward, 2nd Viscount Ligonier’ were oil on canvas. The combination of the horse and a full-length portrait of its master shows the level of expertise and skill Gainsborough has gained over the prior years. His landscapes are intelligently done to compliment the main subjects in the painting and making them the highlight. In Lord Ligonier’s portrait, his orange coat blends perfectly with the background environment. The painting was done after Lord Edward Ligonier asked Thomas Gainsborough to draw paintings of his family. The other painting done for the family is ‘Penelope, Viscountess Ligonier, 1770’.
Both family paintings express more emphasis on human portraits through bright and light colours with the landscape background visibly of darker tone colours. The painting of Lord Edward, as is the case in most of his works. is a full-length portrait. The painting, Edward, 2nd Viscount Ligonier by Thomas Gainsborough can be found at the Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino, California. The original size of the oil on canvas painting is 238.8 by 157.5 cm.