Blue Boy and Pinkie at Huntington Library Are Top Tourist Attractions


For years I looked at Blue Boy and Pinkie framed reproductions hanging in the dining room of my parents' house. My mother had visited Huntington Library & Gardens in San Marino, Calif., where she fell in love with the original paintings, two of California's best-known art works that tourists from around the globe come to see.

Acquired by the wealthy Henry E. Huntington whose estate, art galleries and magnificent flower gardens are open to the public in Southern California, the famous paintings were considered part of the greatest collection of 18th-century British art in the country when Huntington Art Gallery opened in 1928. Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough and Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence are a special treat to locals who can visit and see these famous paintings on a regular basis. On the first Thursday of each month, you can visit the Huntington Library & Gardens free. Normal admission is $15. The free days fill up fast, and you must pre-book and get tickets online - - beginning the first days of the previous month, till tickets are gone.

The story surrounding Blue Boy contains humor. Gainsborough didn't initially want to be a portrait artist. His passion was with landscapes, but they didn't bring him much income. Honing his skills in portrait painting, Blue Boy was actually Gainsborough's friend, Jonathan Buttall. The creative artist asked his friend to dress in period costumes of another era, and the friend obliged. Little could the two have known that their efforts would be immortalized and carefully examined by millions of people, hundreds of years later.

If you're a fan of the Blue Boy & Pinkie or know someone who is, there's an affordable book sold at the Huntington Library by author Robert R. Wark called, "Best-Loved Paintings: The Blue Boy and Pinkie". It seems to still be available, though it was published in 1998. This handsome gift book tells the stories behind the two famous Huntington paintings. You can find the book listed on the Huntington Library & Gardens website. Or give the bookstore a call at (626) 405-2142.

Format: 80 pages, 4-1/2 x 6-1/2, color illus., cloth
ISBN: 978-0-87328-170-6Price: $5


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