"Blue Boy with Blue Dog"

Tommy "Pistonbreeches" Gainesboro

(later addition by Rodrigger)

Denounced by the famous Gainesborough family of wagon painters ("The Hay Wain," "Return of the Hay Wain," "Revenge of the Hay Wain," etc.) as a hopeless degenerate, the young scion disguised his last name and devoted himself to painting cute young boys, which he dressed in silken underthings and satin finery, and posed in what he called "the most darling manner."

 

The subject painting, of Rolf, the son of a Yorkshire collier, is the only one he completed, as he was usually run out of town during what he called the "dressing-up game." The painting was almost the cause of his death, as young Rolf's father brained him with a scuttle during the unveiling of the portrait. At his trial the collier defended his actions, saying that he "ar spent 2 pounds, a shillin' an' tuppence ter 'ave me boy's paintin' done as a treat fer his maw, then this dandylip tricks 'im out like a bleedin' street faggot, and I never liked the color blue nohow, nor do his maw."

 

After his parents were inadvertently hanged by order of the Crown, the boy Rolf escaped to the United States by becoming the "special pet" of the captain of a whaling ship, and subject of the excised chapter of "Moby-Dick" entitled "The Oiling-down of the Cabin-boy." He later crossed the country in the company of a team of Jesuits, where he held a missionary position, and went on to found Frederick's of Hollywood.

 

The blue dog was added much later. As the secondary artist put it, "I was drunk, the guards weren't watching the painting, and every boy should have a dog, dontcha think?"

 

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