Gainsborough’s Blue Boy has to be one of the most reproduced paintings in the world. I’ve seen it so often at antique malls, that if my housemate joins me on a shopping adventure, we actually keep a Blue Boy tally. It’s like the license plate game. But, you know, with 18th century art.
“Was that six or seven Blue Boys we’re up to now?”
And Blue Boy doesn’t come in just prints, either, oh no! He’s been replicated on everything from jigsaw puzzles and ashtrays to needlepoint and latchhook rugs....
(This needlepoint was an Ebay find-- on the back it reads, “From Grandma to Jeffrey”... Somehow I think Jeffrey wasn’t exactly into yarn crafts of kids in knickers...)
Well, the Counting of the Blue Boys had gone on for quite a good long while. Then one day I found a set of Lefton bisque Blue Boy and Pinky plaques at the Goodwill. And because they were so cheap and made me laugh so hard in the glassware aisle, I bought them-- And promptly gave them to my housemate.
The running Blue Boy joke has moved, fleet-footed. I now have a three-foot-tall Halloween Blue Boy portrait where his face has been replaced by a ghoulish skull. My housemate owns a 30s Blue Boy in an art deco frame, and a seven-inch tall glass figurine. SHE has the idea I should have a wall of just Blue Boy items in a shop someday. I think SHE should have a wall of Blue Boys when she purchases her own house.
Somehow I suspect we’re both going to be up to our bums in Blue Boys.
So I’ve been scanning the thrift stores, looking for the ultimate Blue Boy item to pass along. Because, you know, funny is good, but funny and dirt cheap is really the goal here. So while I still cruise the aisles for proper Thrift Shop Romantic decor, I continue to keep my eyes peeled for that very special Gainsborough goody. I imagine some day soon I’ll stumble on a Blue Boy lunch box, a Blue Boy mousepad. Or, hope upon hope, a Blue Boy on velvet.
My golly, that would be good enough for CHRISTMAS.