National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Miss Catherine Tatton Thomas Gainsborough (artist)
British, 1727 - 1788
Miss Catherine Tatton, 1786
oil on canvas
overall: 76 x 64 cm (29 15/16 x 25 3/16 in.) framed: 104.5 x 91.8 x 14 cm (41 1/8 x 36 1/8 x 5 1/2 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
On View
From the Tour: Britain's Royal Academy of Art in the Late 1700s and Early 1800s
Object 4 of 8


Painted May 1786 for the sitter's family;[1] by inheritance to the sitter's son, the Reverend William Drake-Brockman [1788-1847], Beachborough House, Newington, Hythe, Kent; by inheritance to his brother, the Reverend Tatton Drake-Brockman [1792-1869], Beachborough House; by inheritance to his brother, Frederick Drake-Brockman [1810-1876], Beachborough House; by inheritance to his nephew, Francis Drake-Brockman [1851-1931], Beachborough House; probably sold to (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London); sold 1908 to (M. Knoedler and Co., New York, London, and Paris).[2] sold to Herbert, 1st baron Michelham [1851-1919], Hellingly, Sussex, by 1911;[3] (his estate sale, Hampton & Sons, London, on the premises, 20 Arlington Street, London, 23-24 November 1926, 2nd day, no. 290);[4] (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); sold 1927 to Andrew W. Mellon [1865-1937], Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

[1] The provenance published in the 1992 NGA systematic catalogue (John Hayes, British Painting of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries) states that the painting was executed in 1786 on the occasion of the sitter's marriage, for her father, the Reverend William Tatton, D.D., rector of Rotherfield, Sussex, and prebendary of Canterbury Cathedral, and that payment to the artist was recorded in the Rev. Tatton's account book of that year. This information is partially in error. While the date is correct, the account book that recorded the payment was not that of the Rev. Tatton, who died 11 February 1782, but that of his brother-in-law and executor, the sitter's uncle, the Rev. John Lynch, Archdeacon of Canterbury. The sitter was the only surviving child of the Rev. Lynch's sister, Sarah, and may have been his special responsibility. Catherine sat for her portrait in May 1786, when the Reverend recorded the payment of 1 shilling to the artist's servant, and the full fee of 34 pounds, 2 shillings and sixpence, was paid to the painter a few weeks later. Catherine was married on 7 June 1786, to James Drake-Brockman, and it is likely that she and her husband took possession of the painting. (See information about the account book in NGA curatorial files.)

[2] This part of the painting's provenance is somewhat uncertain. Ellis Waterhouse (Gainsborough, London, 1958: 91, no. 653) states that Knoedler acquired the painting from the Brockman family c. 1908. However, a typewritten document in NGA curatorial files describes the painting as "Bt. of P. & D. Colnaghi 1908" and "our 4438," underneath which is typed "11673." The document has no letterhead or identifying information, but the numbers bear a resemblance to Knoedler stock numbers, so it may be that the family sold the painting to Colnaghi, who in turn sold it to Knoedler. Colnaghi stock books begin only in 1911, so it is not possible to check this hypothesis against their records.

[3] Lord Michelman lent the painting to a 1911 exhibition in London.

[4] The sale of Baron Michelham's collection was held by direction of his widow, Aimée Geraldine, who had remarried in February of that year.

Associated Names

Full Screen Image
Artist Information
Conservation Notes
Exhibition History

«back to gallery»continue tour