Admission is always free Directions

Open today: 11:00 to 6:00

Provenance

Craufurd Tait, Edinburgh [d. 1832], the sitter's only son; by descent through John Tait [d. 1877], the child in the portrait, to Mrs. Frederick Pitman, née Tait, Edinburgh, by 1901; her eldest son, Archibald Robert Craufurd Pitman, Edinburgh; sold October 1918 to (Robert Langton Douglas, London and New York);[1] purchased February 1919 by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; [2] deeded December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1863
Works of Deceased and Living Scottish Artists, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1863, no. 293.
1876
Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., Gallery of Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1876, no. 183.
1895
Old Scottish Portrait Painters, Grafton Galleries, London, 1895, no. 76.
1908
Scottish National Exhibition, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1908, no. 32.
1911
Pictures by Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., French Gallery (Wallis & Sons), London, 1911, no. 8, repro.
1925
Pictures by Raeburn, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, 1925, no. 4.
1995
The New Child: British Art and the Origins of Modern Childhood, 1730-1830, University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, 1995-1996, unnumbered cat., pl. 31.
Bibliography
1901
Armstrong, Sir Walter. Sir Henry Raeburn. London, 1901: 19, 113, repro. opp. 44.
1911
Greig, James. Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A.: His Life and His Works. London, 1911: xxxv, 61, pl. 24.
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 161, no. 103.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 241, repro. 17.
1949
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 118, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 106.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 94, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 276, repro.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 522, color repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 368, no. 520, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 322, repro.
1992
Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 199-202, repro. 201.
Technical Summary

The medium-heavyweight canvas is twill woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, of moderate thickness. The painting is executed fluidly and thinly, blended wet into wet, except in the rendering of the child, where the coloration and shadows in the face are applied in glazes and the costume is painted thickly to cover the dark paint of an earlier composition. X-radiographs show that the child was added later; the sitter was originally shown with his arm resting on the chair, holding a hat. The thinner areas are solvent abraded, and the impasto has been slightly flattened during lining. As a result of exposure to excessive heat, the paint has been damaged along the right edge in a strip approximately 2.5 cm. wide. Otherwise the painting is in good condition. The moderately thick natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.