lower center reverse: Fr. Alexander Pinxet 1835
Samuel Parkman Sturgis [1803-1877], brother of the sitter, Canton, China; his brother, James Sturgis [1822-1888], Boston; his son, Charles Wilkins Sturgis [1849-1913], Boston. (Rose M. de Forest [Mrs. Augustus F. de Forest], New York); purchased 10 October 1921 by Thomas B. Clarke [1848 1931], New York; his estate; sold as part of the Clarke collection on 29 January 1936, through (M. Knoedler & Co., New York), to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1947 to NGA.
- Exhibition of Paintings by Early American Portrait Painters, The Union League Club, New York, November 1921, no. 13.
- A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Early American Portrait Painters, The Century Association, New York, 1926, no. 7.
- Portraits by Early American Artists of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Collected by Thomas B. Clarke, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928-1931, unnumbered and unpaginated catalogue, as Sarah Blake Sturgis.
- Sturgis, Roger Faxton, ed. Edward Sturgis and His Dependants. Boston, 1914.
- Portraits by Early American Artists of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Collected by Thomas B. Clarke. Exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928, unnumbered, as Sarah Blake Sturgis.
- Pierce, Catharine W. "Francis Alexander." Old-Time New England 44 (October-December) 1953: 44.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 10, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 20, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 20, repro.
- Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 4-6, repro.
The painting is unlined but has a new stretcher, slightly larger than the original. The primary support is a plain-weave, medium-weight fabric. Over a thin, off-white ground layer, the paint was thinly applied with fluid brushstrokes. There are a few areas of impasto in the highlights and the veil. X-radiography suggests that an oval format may have originally been intended. Without further analysis it cannot be determined whether the change to a rectangular format was made by the artist or at a later date. The background shows small, darkened areas of inpainting as well as one large inpainted area at the right ear. The varnish is discolored.