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Provenance

Painted for the sitter's husband, Sir Foster Cunliffe, 3rd Bt. [1755-1834], Acton Park, Wrexham, Denbighshire; by descent to Sir Robert Cunliffe, 7th Bt. [1884-1949]. Possibly (Lewis and Simmons, New York, London and Paris, 1928). Mrs. Vivian B. Allen, New York; by descent c. 1962 to her granddaughter, Josephine Tomkins, New York; gift to NGA, 1979.

Exhibition History
1782
Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1782, no. 89, as Portrait of a Young Lady.
1877
Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School. Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1877, no. 266.
1894
Fair Women, Grafton Galleries, London, 1894, no. 82.
Bibliography
1782
London Courant, 4 May 1782.
1909
Mckay, William and William Roberts. John Hoppner, R.A.. London, 1909: 60, 310; Supplement, 1914.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 207, repro., as Lady Harriet Cunliffe
1991
Wilson, John Human. "The Life and Art of John Hoppner (1758-1810)." Ph.D. diss., Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1991.
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: 129-131, repro. 131.
Technical Summary

The canvas is twill woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, of moderate thickness. The painting is executed thinly and fluidly in opaque layers blended wet into wet; transparent glazes are used in the flesh tones. With the exception of the features and hat, contours are blended and imprecise. There is a pentimento in the ribbon descending from the left side of the sitter's hat, which originally extended half an inch lower. There is light abrasion of the glazes in the face, and the impasto has been slightly flattened during lining. There are no retouchings in the figure; there is extensive repainting in the bottom left corner, but it is uncertain whether the uniform appearance of the background is due to good condition or to extensive repaint. The thick natural resin varnish has discolored yellow; the residues of an earlier varnish are very dark.