The Easel

24th May 2022

Gainsborough’s ‘Blue Boy’

When Gainsborough painted this famous work, the “fancy picture” was fashionable. These were pictures intended for public viewing, sentimental and often featuring children. Blue Boy was intended as one of these but isn’t entirely successful. It is “rather brown” which, in reproductions, makes the blue stand out. This masks the “shortcomings of [Gainsborough’s] colour management … the fabric never really shines, it just tells us it does.”