National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Master John Heathcote Thomas Gainsborough (artist)
British, 1727 - 1788
Master John Heathcote, c. 1771/1772
oil on canvas
overall: 127 x 101.2 cm (50 x 39 13/16 in.) framed: 159.4 x 133.3 cm (62 3/4 x 52 1/2 in.)
Given in memory of Governor Alvan T. Fuller by The Fuller Foundation, Inc.
On View
From the Tour: British and American Grand Manner Portraits of the 1700s
Object 2 of 12


Painted for the sitter's parents, John [d. 1795] and Lydia [d. 1822] Heathcote, Conington Castle, Huntingdonshire; by descent to their great-grandson, John Moyer Heathcote [1834-1912]; purchased 1913 from the Heathcote estate by (Thos. Agnew and Sons Ltd., London); sold the same year to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[1] sold c.1913 to Herbert, 1st Baron Michelham [1851-1919], Hellingly, Sussex; (his estate sale, Hampton & Sons, on the premises, 20 Arlington Street, London, 23-24 November 1926, 2nd day, no. 292); Captain Jefferson Davis Cohn, Paris,[2] on behalf of (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); sold March or April 1927 to Alvan T. Fuller [1878-1958], Boston;[3] The Fuller Foundation, Boston; gift 1961 to NGA.

[1] Agnew stock books, recorded by The Provenance Index, J. Paul Getty Trust, Santa Monica.

[2] The Getty Provenance Index records Cohn as the buyer at the Michelham sale. See also Colin Simpson, The Artful Partners: The Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen, London, 1987: 179-180, for an account of Cohn's part in the sale.

[3] An undated note in the NGA curatorial files records a telephone conversation between Ross Watson and Peter Fuller, son of Alvan T. Fuller, who said that his father purchased this painting in England, probably at Thomas Agnew & Sons in July 1927. However, the late Sir Geoffrey Agnew, in Agnew's 1817-1967 , London, 1967: 49, states that Governor Fuller of Boston was a faithful Agnew's client, that they acted on his behalf at many auctions, and that the only picture he ever bought from Duveen was a Gainsborough that Agnew's had failed to buy for him at the Michelham sale.

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