Exhibition: Gainsborough's Blue Boy

This exhibition runs from Tue, 25th Jan 2022 to Sun, 15th May 2022. See all dates

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

25th Jan 2022  
(10am - 6pm)
26th Jan 2022  
(10am - 6pm)
27th Jan 2022  
(10am - 6pm)
28th Jan 2022  
(10am - 9pm)
29th Jan 2022  
(10am - 6pm)
30th Jan 2022  
(10am - 6pm)
31st Jan 2022  
(10am - 6pm)

This exhibition has not opened yet. Will open on Tue, 25th Jan 2022

Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Cost: Free of Charge

In the winter of 1922, Gainsborough’s ‘The Blue Boy’ hung at the Gallery for three weeks before it sailed across the Atlantic to its new home in California. It was a public farewell to a beloved painting.

100 years later (to the day), Gainsborough’s masterpiece returns to the Gallery to go on display in Trafalgar Square once again.

On a child-sized canvas, the young subject is dressed in a striking blue costume; he is bright-eyed yet serious, shy yet direct. The identity of the boy in blue is uncertain; more importantly, he is a stand-in for all boys and the idea of childhood. Through a series of high-profile exhibitions, widely published reproduction prints, and countless copies by artists down the ages, he has become one of Britain’s most beloved sons.

‘The Blue Boy’ represents the best of 18th-century British art. It is Gainsborough’s eloquent response to the legacy of Van Dyck and grand manner portraiture. It is a proud demonstration by Gainsborough of what painting can achieve. The popularity and influence of the painting have made it an icon, which has been quoted by contemporary artists and referenced in Hollywood films.

After exactly 100 years, this exhibition reunites ‘The Blue Boy’ with the British public and with the paintings that inspired it.

This is the first time the painting has been loaned by The Huntington - it is a once-in-a-century opportunity to see this iconic work in the UK.

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

Reserve tickets at this website


National Gallery,

Trafalgar Square, London,

Map of National Gallery


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