Art: The $364,000 Gainsborough

English portraits of the 18th century were once among the bluest of blue chips in the art market. In 1921, U.S. Railroad Heir Henry E. Huntington plunked down better than $500,000 for Thomas Gainsborough's Blue Boy, setting the record for English canvases. Hundreds of other rich Americans were supplying themselves with high-priced ancestral portraits from England at about the same time. But the fashion waned and almost disappeared until last week, when Gainsborough's Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrews fetched a fat $364,000 at auction in London.

The seller: the great-great-great-grandson of the Andrews couple, who posed under a tree that is still...

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