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Inscription

on reverse, hidden by lining: Dr. Holbrook of / S.Carolina / 1856 or 7

Provenance

The artist, New York; his estate, in 1908.[1] (sale, Anderson Galleries, New York, 26 November 1920, no. 90); Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York;[2] his estate; sold as part of the Clarke collection 29 January 1936, through (M. Knoedler & Co., New York), to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1947 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1908
Memorial Exhibition of Works by the Late Daniel Huntington, N.A., Century Association, New York, 1908, no. 28.
1923
Exhibition of Portraits by Early American Portrait Painters, The Union League Club, New York, 1923, no. 14.
1928
A Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Early American Portrait Painters, The Century Association, New York, 1928, no. 9.
1928
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 John Edwards Holbrook.
1967
Loan for display with permanent collection, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1967-1981.
Bibliography
1928
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.
1950
Mansueti, Romeo. "Father of American Herpetology." Nature Magazine 43 (January 1950): repro. 19.
1952
Rutledge and Lane 1952, 124.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 70, repro.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 179, repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 208, repro.
1996
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: 337-339, repro.
Technical Summary

The support is a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric that has been lined. Stenciled on the reverse of the original fabric is "Williams, Stevens, Williams & Co."[1] The off-white ground is thin and smooth. The brushwork is predominately wet-into-wet, with fairly free strokes and a low impasto visible in the lighter areas. Paint loss is minimal, and there are only scattered areas of inpainting on the face and at lower right. A small tear has been mended at upper left. In 1962, the painting was lined and restored, and discolored varnish was removed.

[1] The inscription and partial stencil mark, recorded by a photograph in the NGA conservation files, are now concealed by the lining.