It didn’t belong to the original piece. Detail view of The Blue Boy shown with visible damages.

Christina O'Connell, The Huntington's Mary Ann and John Sturgeon Senior Paintings Conservator and leader of the project, gave about 170 gallery talks, emphasizing the guidelines and code of ethics in the field of conservation as she responded to visitor questions on topics ranging from the history of the painting, to details of the technical study, to the structural elements of the work. Photo: Christina Milton O'Connell. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

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“I noticed, in my initial examination, they didn’t get to that extreme edge” at the top of the painting “and that’s where an abandoned portrait is located,” O’Connell said. "It's been an incredibly deep professional experience," she said. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced Thursday that the extensive 18-month initiative to analyze, conserve, and restore The Blue Boy …

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CreditConservation was funded by a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project. Side-by-side comparison of Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy. She worked in full view of the public as she consolidated and stabilized the flaking paint under a surgical microscope, which streamed an image to a large television, allowing visitors to see what O’Connell was seeing.

Courtesy photo: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

More than 217,000 people visited the "Project Blue Boy" exhibition. Now, minute shades of color, fine brushstroke textures, and nuanced details of the famous figure of a young man in a blue satin costume, as well as the landscape in which he stands, are once again legible and closer to what Gainsborough intended.

High resolution images available upon request, 1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA 91108 626-405-2100© The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. “We have to remember that this painting wasn’t commissioned, but rather was produced by Gainsborough for the express purpose of showing off his prowess at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1770—where it would be seen next to the work of his rivals,” said Melinda McCurdy, The Huntington's associate curator for British art and co-curator of “Project Blue Boy.” “Gainsborough intended it to grab attention, and conservation work has revealed the incredible technical skill he brought to this showpiece.”.

The conservator removed dirt trapped underneath the varnish (as seen on the cotton swab), which clouded the clarity of Gainsborough's masterful brushwork. Photo: John Sullivan.

Pre-conservation photo. The Blue Boy (ca. While The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens is San Marino is closed this weekend due to air quality concerns from the Bobcat fire, you can buy tickets to see The Blue Boy which will be back on display once the museum reopens.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

But it wasn’t clear how they were going to find the time or money to restore the famed artwork. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. “The blue suit really shines again,” O’Connell said. The Blue Boy (ca. TEACHERS New: Virtual School Programs for Fall 2020, TEACHERS & STUDENTS NEW: Virtual School Programs for Fall 2020, SUPPORT THE HUNTINGTON Give the Gift of Membership, While the Huntington Art Gallery has not yet reopened due to COVID-19, Gainsborough's famous masterpiece is back on the wall, luminous and awaiting visitors. Credit Conservation was funded by a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.

Christina O'Connell, Mary Ann and John Sturgeon Senior Paintings Conservator, uses tiny brushes to reconnect Gainsborough's brushstrokes across the voids of past damages. SAN MARINO, Calif.—One of the most famous works at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, The Blue Boy (ca. Closeup view of Christina Milton O'Connell, Mary Ann and John Sturgeon Senior Paintings Conservator, removing discolored varnish with small swabs. Election questions answered here, Thirty witnesses ready to testify against Azarian coaches in abuse case, Photos: Hybrid air show a treat for the Antelope Valley. By 2017, work began in earnest to restore The Blue Boy, O’Connell said.

Other discoveries made over the course of the project, which was supported by a grant from Bank of America as a part of its global Arts Conservation Project, include one relating to the painting's lining.

Closeup view of Christina Milton O'Connell, Mary Ann and John Sturgeon Senior Paintings Conservator, using tiny brushes to reconnect Gainsborough's brushstrokes across the voids of past damages.

Christina O'Connell, The Huntington's Mary Ann and John Sturgeon Senior Paintings Conservator and leader of the project, removed several uneven layers of dirt and discolored varnish with small cotton swabs to reveal Gainsborough's original brilliant blues and other pigments.

The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

As O'Connell worked on the painting, she became intimately aware of Gainsborough's every brushstroke. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Christina Milton O'Connell, Mary Ann and John Sturgeon Senior Paintings Conservator, removed discolored varnish with small swabs. Courtesy photo: John Sullivan. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. The Blue Boy is brilliantly blue once again, popping with color and no longer trapped behind a malaise of green hues, after conservators at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens spent several painstaking years delicately fixing centuries of gradual discoloration and damage.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

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