Skip to main content
This program will be available for sale to the general public starting on December 7, 2022.
Want to purchase your tickets before then? Become a donor today, or if you are already a donor, log in to purchase your tickets.

Thomas Gainsborough: Beyond the Blue Boy

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2252
Select your Tickets
Powered by Zoom

The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, 1770 (Huntington Library, San Marino, California)

Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788), considered one of the most important British artists of the second half of the 18th century, was also one of England’s earliest “homegrown” geniuses.  A boy prodigy, largely self-taught, witty, convivial, musical, Gainsborough was widely known and admired for his fluid handling of paint in his portraits and landscapes. In contrast to his professional “rival,” Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was the first President of the Royal Academy, Gainsborough was anti-academic in attitude.

After a decade in Bath, garnering a wide clientele among spa visitors, Gainsborough relocated to London to compete with Reynolds head-on. The two giants dominated portrait painting in the 1770s and 1780s. Gainsborough enjoyed the patronage of a varied clientele, including musicians, actresses, artists, the aristocracy, and the royal family. Later, the purchase of the iconic Blue Boy (1770) and other Gainsborough works by some notoriously wealthy Americans—dubbed robber barons—helped make him a household name in the United States.  

Art historian Bonita Billman examines the career and lush painterly technique of Thomas Gainsborough, his iconic masterworks (especially those in America), and his influence on painting.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for online programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our online programs presented on Zoom.

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

This online program is presented on Zoom.