BBC – Record number of visitors queued outside the National Gallery in January 1922, despite the drizzly conditions, to see a single painting: Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy (c 1770). The artwork was bought by a US collector in 1921 and its imminent departure drew 90,000 people to get a last glimpse what the press had dubbed “the world’s most beautiful painting”. An article in the London Times claimed that the Blue Boy exemplified the “courtly grace and serene carriage of a people who knew themselves a great people and were not ashamed to own it.” To the general population, Gainsborough’s Blue Boy was the epitome of high culture and the noble British character. – read more