The Blue Boy

painting by Thomas Gainsborough

The Blue Boy is an oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough. It was painted about 1770. The boy in the picture might be Jonathan Buttall, the son of a hardware merchant. The boy wears a 17th-century suit. The painting is large. It measures 48 inches (1,200 mm) wide by 70 inches (1,800 mm) tall.

The Blue Boy

The painting belonged to Jonathan Buttall until 1796. It was then sold many times. In 1921 it was sold to an art dealer. An American bought the painting from the dealer. The sale caused a furor in England. The British were losing a national treasure. The portrait is now in the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Pinkie is a famous painting which hangs near it.


  • Conisbee, Philip. The Ones That Got Away, essay from Saved! 100 Years of the National Art Collection Fund (2003, ed. Richard Verdi). London: Scala
  • Conlin, Jonathan (2006). The Nation's Mantelpiece: A history of the National Gallery. London: Pallas Athene
  • Tyler, David. Jonathan Buttall in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). Oxford: Oxford University Press

Other websitesEdit

  Media related to The Blue Boy at Wikimedia Commons