Pinkie and Blue Boy figurines

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2015-06-26 10:44:24

Pinkie and Blue Boy figurines are ceramic figurines based on figures from two famous paintings on display in the Huntington Library in California.

Background

The figures of Pinkie and the Blue Boy are based on two paintings which hang opposite each other in the Huntington Library gallery in San Marino, California. The two works are the most famous on display in the gallery, and despite being painted by two different artists more than 25 years apart they have become synonymous with each other.

‘Pinkie’ is a portrait of the 11-year old Sarah Barrett Moulton, completed in 1796 by the English artist Sir Thomas Lawrence. Moulton was the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner in Jamaica, and was sent to England to complete her education. The portrait was commissioned when she arrived in England, but just a year after its completion Sarah died of whooping cough at the age of just 12 years old.

‘The Blue Boy’ is the most famous work of the celebrated English artist Thomas Gainsborough. Completed circa 1770, the painting is believed to be a portrait of Jonathan Buttall, the son of a wealthy merchant. The boy’s 17th century costume is thought to be a tribute by Gainsborough to the Flemmish painter Anthony van Dyck, who painted a portrait of the young Charles II in a similar manner.

Both works were purchased by the American railway pioneer Henry Edwards Huntington during the 1920s, as he built the art collection which remains in display today.

Pinkie and Blue Boy figurines

The two figures have been recreated as a pair of figurines by a large number of manufacturers over the years, since they developed an association with each other after being exhibited together in the 1930s.

Notable manufacturers to produce the figurines include Lefton (as part of their Old Master Series) and the German company Goebel, both of which produced the figures from the 1950s/60s onwards.

How much are Pinkie and Blue Boy figurines worth?

The value of a set of Pinkie and Blue Boy figurines depends entirely on the manufacturer that produced them. If the figurines were made by a well-known company with an established secondary collector’s market, good condition examples can sell for $50 - $150 depending on the maker.

Modern unmarked figurines can be found for less than $10 each.

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