Art Fact: Thomas Gainsborough

Thomas Gainsborough painted a Pink Boy about a dozen years after The Blue Boy. As recently as the 1920s, parenting books recommended dressing boys in pink and girls in blue—the latter because blue was the traditional color of the Virgin Mary’s cloak.

For more on the gender history of pink and blue, see Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell’s article, “Thinking Pink,” in the current issue of the Huntington’s Frontiers magazineThe Pink Boy, identified as 12-year-old aristocrat Francis Nicholls, entered the Rothschild collection in 1879 and can be seen at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.

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