Gainsborough’s Blue Boy: The Return of a British Icon
Special Gallery price £14.99 - RRP:£16.99
Please note that this catalogue is available as pre-order and will be dispatched on w/c 24th of January 2022.
Accompanies the exhibition at the National Gallery, London, 25 January–15 May 2022.
This richly illustrated publication, marking the return of Gainsborough’s Blue Boy to the UK exactly 100 years since it left for the United States, explores the lasting influence of this iconic painting on British art and culture. Including a select group of paintings that demonstrate the profound influence of Sir Anthony van Dyck and the old master tradition on Gainsborough’s practice and identity, the catalogue examines this masterpiece within the context of the National Gallery’s collection.
During the nineteenth century, the painting’s fame grew and full-length portraits by Gainsborough and his contemporaries became much sought after by wealthy American collectors. American buying power from the 1880s onwards was mirrored by the comparative economic decline of the British aristocracy. The sale of The Blue Boy in 1921, to the American railroad magnate and collector Henry E. Huntington, was therefore seen by many as emblematic of this shift in economic and cultural power. Given the proximity to the end of the First World War, the loss of The Blue Boy was unsurprisingly viewed as a national tragedy. However, its afterlife, as a kind of permanent ambassador for British art, has undoubtedly fed into ideas of Britain and Britishness – its history, society, culture and character – that still resonate today.
|Publisher||National Gallery Company Ltd|
|Dimensions||23 x 27 cm|
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