The Blue Boy portrait

British and European Art

Displayed in an early 20th-century Beaux-Arts residence, once the winter home of Henry E. and Arabella Huntington, the British and European art collection encompasses a broad range of styles, cultures, and media, from antiquity to the present day. It features one of the most significant holdings of British art outside the United Kingdom, including its famous collection of 18th-century grand manner portraits, including Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy, Joshua Reynolds’ Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, and Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie, images of opulence that continue to inspire contemporary artists such as Kehinde Wiley. Important examples of 19th-century British landscape paintings by artists such as John Constable and J. M. W. Turner echo the lush gardens outside the gallery walls, while one of the largest holdings of material in the world related to the Arts and Crafts design firm William Morris and Co. makes clear connections with the work of American designers Charles and Henry Greene, on view in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art—just a short walk across the grounds.

Visitors can also discover a broad range of European art, from Rogier van der Weyden’s tender Virgin and Child (ca. 1460) to tour-de-force bronze sculpture by Flemish and Italian masters, such as Giambologna’s Nessus and Deianira (ca. 1575), and the glittering luxury of 18th-century French paintings, sculpture, and decorative art. Selections from The Huntington’s holdings of Old Master prints and British drawings, including one of the greatest collections of work by visionary British artist William Blake, are also frequently on view. Temporary installations by artists working today highlight the relevance of historic art to contemporary creativity.