We gobbled up the many charms around Bayfield, architecture, orchards & berry farms, the beautiful Apostle Islands National Lakeshore & an island cruise.
But one small detail that stuck with us from the trip was a portrait of a boy in the bathroom of our suite. There was also a portrait of a girl who appeared to be floating.
The Bayfield area is notorious for it's "haunted" history (we didn't know this until we ended up there.) Their historical society offers ghost tours, and we were told upon checking in that our room was one of the haunted ones, but they were friendly ghosts, not to worry.
So, for whatever reason, we thought these small, staring portraits in the washroom were quirky & comical. (We are not superstitious, for the record.)
Then, browsing Bayfield shops, we saw the staring eyes of the boy again, not once, but twice. Enough to pique my curiosity to find out who he was. I assumed maybe he was special to that area, a boy from a shipwreck or something.
After the right combination of key words, my google search revealed "Blue Boy" and "Pinkie."
The Blue Boy is a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough (c. 1770). Pinkie is the traditional title for a portrait of 1794 by Thomas Lawrence. They are both part of a permanent collection of the Huntington Library at San Marino, California where they hang opposite each other. These two works are the centerpieces of the institute's art collection, which specializes in 18th-century English portraiture.I had never remembered seeing them before ever, but since our anniversary introduction to these characters, they just keep popping up!
It quickly grew amusing, and I thought to start taking pictures of each Blue Boy sighting. I have a whole pile of Blue Boy pictures on my phone.
Just a couple of weeks after our anniversary, who should appear at eye level at my favorite thrift shop, but Blue Boy. I was having a particularly bad day, and he made me laugh.
(Why I didn't think to buy him in this cute frame, I don't know. I kick myself.)
Out with my mom on her birthday,
here were Blue Boy & Pinkie again.
And way up high..
Then there were Blue Boy & Pinky in matching sets.
(My phone isn't special, sorry for the poor quality.)
I wish I'd thought to buy them all - we could have a whole wall collection of Blue Boy!
It wasn't until I was shopping for the holidays last month & I came face to face with Blue Boy, that I laughed again and, without hesitation, bought it (for $1.99.) I wrapped it for Mitch for Christmas with a little note on the back.
I plan to hang him in our new master bathroom when it's complete, just like the Blue Boy in the bathroom of our 15th anniversary suite the first time we saw him.
As Blue Boy has continued to appear in our life, I've wondered: Is he that common? Like American Gothic? or kitschy like those dogs playing pool? Were we out of the loop before?
Common or not, it's been a funny coincidence running into him so much. We get a kick out of it.
I can't wait to finish that bathroom where he can hang like he did in the anniversary suite.
For now, I move him around the house every few days & smile as his eyes follow us.
I'm curious - do you have a Blue Boy story?