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); purchased February 1919 by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.;  deeded December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.
- Works of Deceased and Living Scottish Artists, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1863, no. 293.
- Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., Gallery of Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1876, no. 183.
- Old Scottish Portrait Painters, Grafton Galleries, London, 1895, no. 76.
- Scottish National Exhibition, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1908, no. 32.
- Pictures by Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., French Gallery (Wallis & Sons), London, 1911, no. 8, repro.
- Pictures by Raeburn, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, 1925, no. 4.
- 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.
- Armstrong, Sir Walter. Sir Henry Raeburn. London, 1901: 19, 113, repro. opp. 44.
- Greig, James. Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A.: His Life and His Works. London, 1911: xxxv, 61, pl. 24.
- Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 161, no. 103.
- Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 241, repro. 17.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 118, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 106.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 94, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 276, repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 522, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 368, no. 520, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 322, repro.
- 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.
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.