Display: Gainsborough: The Pink Boy Conserved, Waddesdon Manor, from 25 May to 30 October 2022
This new display celebrates the return of Thomas Gainsborough’s ‘The Pink Boy’ (1782), one of Waddesdon’s most popular paintings, after being cleaned and conserved, a process that has revealed much about the painting’s creation.
From Wed 25 May, a special display will reveal it anew, freed from a discoloured varnish, alongside three other Waddesdon Gainsboroughs that depict boys in so-called ‘Vandyke’ dress.
Gainsborough revered Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641) – the leading painter at Charles I’s court – considering him the supreme exponent of British portraiture, against whose measure contemporaries judged him. Gainsborough’s boys in ‘Vandyke’ dress – each of differing age and social class and painted for different purposes – play with the fluid relationship between clothing and identity.
The Pink Boy is a more youthful counterpart of the famous Blue Boy (on exceptional loan to The National Gallery, London until 15 May 2022 from the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California) and, like him, wearing an 18th-century fancy-dress version of 17th-century clothes. Further details of the display here >>