BLUEBOY
by Thomas Gainsborough
1727-1788


Blue Boy by Gainsborough
Enlarged view



The painting of The Blue Boy is perhaps one of the most well known works by Gainsborough (GAINZ burro). It is thought it is a picture of Jonathan Buttall, who was the son of a wealthy hardware merchant. It is painted with oil paints on a canvas and is quite large; 48 inches wide and 70 inches tall. He painted it over another painting he had already started to paint.

Thomas Gainsborough was born in England and began drawing when he was very young. He started taking lessons at the age of 13. It is said he once sketched a thief stealing from the Parson's garden so accurately, they recognized him as a man from the next village. The culprit was apprehended.

Gainsborough is noted for his portraits, but before he started doing portraits he was a painter of landscapes. He still included landscapes even in his portrait painting. In the painting on the left of Mr.and Mrs. Andrews the landscape is as equally important as the subjects. Evidently they are the landowners, but not the ones who work the land.

The middle picture, The Harvest Wagon was painted in 1767. Notice the use of light and dark colors in the picture and the depth perception. The picture almost looks 3-dimensional.

The picture on the right is Sarah Siddons who was a famous actress during that time. Gainsborough was one of the artists she commissioned to paint her portrait. It is said he had trouble getting her nose to look just right.


Mr. and Mrs. Andrews

Enlarged view


The Harvest Wagon

Enlarged view


Sarah Siddons

Enlarged view

He was a musician who played the viola. He once said, "I paint portraits to live, landscapes because I love them, and music because I can't leave it alone".

He brought objects into his studio to include in his landscapes. Once he used a head of broccoli as his model to represent woods in a background.

When he was nineteen years old he married a well-to-do woman named Margaret Burr. Her income helped him to get started as an artist.

He painted many pictures in his lifetime; more than 500 paintings. About 200 of these were paintings of people. He became wealthy because the rich people wanted him to paint pictures of their families. Gainsborough was noticed by King George III who asked him to paint the royal family even though Joshua Reynolds was the official court painter. This caused a rift between the two artists which was eventually healed before they died.

Near the end of his life he was bothered by a swelling in his neck which proved to be cancer which would cause his death. He settled his business, got his affairs in order and died on August 2, 1788.



References:

Kostner, Thomas, and Lars Roper.50 Artists You Should Know. New York: Prestel, 2006.
Order

Wilder, Jesse Bryant. Art History for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007.
Order

Nichols, John, and Samuel Bentley. Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century. London: Nichols, Son, and Bentley, 1815.
full view

Gerlings, Charlotte. 100 Great Artists, New York: Gramercy Books, 2006.
Order

Thomas Gainsborough, self-portrait 1759






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RESEARCH LINKS


Paintings by Gainsborough
at CGFA

Paintings by Gainsborough
at ABC Gallery

Gainsborough Biography
at Olga's Gallery

Paintings from the Huntington Art Gallery
includes The Blue Boy


Blue Boy
at Wikipedia

Information about Gainsborough
at Humanities Web

Blue Boy
see details

The Artchive
(scroll down the left column to find Gainsborough)

Paintings by Gainsborough
at Wikipedia

Gainsborough Biography and Prints
(Spanish version)





26494: Focus On Artists, Grades 4-8 Focus On Artists, Grades 4-8
By Teacher Created Resources

Art broadens horizons and allows children to see and evaluate are as they see art as a piece of individual human expression. Students will learn about famous and not-so-famous artists as well as the historical periods in which they lived--Renaissance & Baroque, 19th Century and 20th Century. Each lesson provides an overview with the focus, activity and vocabulary words; the lesson includes a materials list and instructions. Extensions activities and an introduction to each artist are also included. 112 reproducible pages, softcover. Grades 4-8.

A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS


Thomas Gainsborough
by George Moss Brock-Arnold 1881 (full view)

Gainsborough
by Sir Walter Armstrong 1854 (full view)

Thomas Gainsborough, A Record of His Life and Works
by N D'Anvers 1897 (full view)

Thomas Gainsborough
by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower, Thomas Gainsborough 1903 (full view)

Thomas Gainsborough, His Life, Work, Friends, and Sitters
by William Biggs Boulton 1905 (full view)

Preview these Amazon books using the links below.

Thomas Gainsborough
by Harry N. Abrams 2002 (review, no preview)

Thomas Gainsborough
by Martin Postle 2002 (review, no preview)

Pictures That Every Child Should Know
by Mary Schell Hoke Bacon 1908 (full view)





Page Comments

Most Recent Comments   ( See more comments on this page )
2013-12-24
We hav a painting or litho of BLUE BOY,It measures 21-1/2"x 15-1/4'. The ink is very thick. It is about 100-years old or older.It is in a glass and metalfram
Benny Dobrofsky
2012-09-07
I have a picture of blue boy that has been a center. Of a lot of weird activity. Just curious if I'm the only one. It is an oil canvas painting that has a couple runs that looks. Like tears.
Dawn
2012-08-18
I have a picture of Blue Boy and Pinkie, are they worth anything?
Shelby

Leave a Comment       View all Comments


Famous Artists and Biographies in this Series

Index to Famous Paintings & Art Appreciation for Kids

Index to Biographies of Famous People

Reference citations information for these biographies

Famous Artists

Bierstadt

Boughton

Bruegel

Cassatt

Cavallino

Cezanne

Cranach

Curry
Durer
Van Dyck
Van Eyck
De Flandes
Fragonard
Gainsborough
Gauguin
Van Gogh
Goya
Hicks
Holbein
Homer
de Hooch
Hopper
Huguet
Jakuchu
Leutze
Limbourg
Michelangelo
Millet
Monet
Moses
O'Keeffe
Raphael
Rembrandt
Remington
Renoir
Reynolds
Rivera
Rockwell
Rousseau
Rubens
Seurat
Titian
Valazquez
Vermeer
Da Vinci
Whistler
Wyeth
Yani

Presidents of
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  Martin Van Buren Abraham Lincoln Theodore Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman Dwight D. Eisenhower
  John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan Barack Obama Calvin Coolidge
American Patriots Benjamin Franklin Francis Scott Key Deborah Sampson Molly Pitcher
World Leaders Constantine Alexander the Great Winston Churchill Margaret Thatcher
Inventors Alexander Graham Bell Johann Gutenberg Cyrus McCormick The Wright Brothers Henry Ford Thomas A. Edison
  Sequoyah Nikola Tesla Michael Faraday Dean Kamen Jack Kilby Leonardo Da Vinci
  Donald O'Neal
Explorers Christopher Columbus Meriwether Lewis Robert Peary John Muir Matthew Henson Sir Edmund Hillary
  Kit Carson Johnny Appleseed Daniel Boone
Women who made
a difference
Clara Barton Helen Keller Florence Nightingale Joan of Arc Amelia Earhart Annie Oakley
  Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Keckly Harriet Tubman Anne Frank Eleanor Roosevelt Madam C.J. Walker
  Sadako Sasaki Henrietta Lacks        
Scientists George Washington Carver Sir Isaac Newton Marie Curie Louis Pasteur Albert Einstein Galileo
  Lise Meitner Norman Borlaug Benjamin Banneker
Educators Noah Webster Booker T. Washington Aristotle Mary McLeod Bethune
Physicians Hippocrates Walter Reed Albert Schweitzer
Religious Leaders George Muller Increase Mather
Athletes Lou Gehrig Wilma Rudolph Tiger Woods Michael Phelps
Civil Rights
Leaders
Martin Luther King Rosa Parks Sojourner Truth Frederick Douglass Mary Ann Shadd Cary James Forten
  Gandhi César Chávez William Wilberforce Nelson Mandela
Composers Beethoven Mozart
Authors Laura Ingalls Wilder Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) Ernest Hemingway Greg Mortenson Phillis Wheatley
Artists John James Audubon Gutzon Borglum Ansel Adams Dale Chihuly Van Gogh Michelangelo
  Rembrandt Grandma Moses Cassatt Renoir Cezanne Rockwell

Art Gallery Famous Paintings Volume 1

Art Gallery Famous Paintings Volume 2

Biographies for Kids - Famous Leaders for Young Readers

Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin

Picture courtesy of The ArtChive Patron Program