Painted for the sitter, William Davenport, Davenport House, Worfield, Shropshire; by descent to Mrs. Cuthbert Leicester-Warren, daughter of Edmund Henry Davenport, 1890. A.J. Finberg. (M. Knoedler & Co., New York). (John Levy Galleries, New York). Benjamin Franklin Jones, Jr. [1868-1928], Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania, by 1925; by inheritance to his wife; (sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, 4-5 December 1941, 2nd day, no. 23); William Robertson Coe [1869-1955], Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York; Coe Foundation, New York; gift 1961 to NGA.
- Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School. Winter Exhibition Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1887, no. 29.
- Paintings by Old Masters from Pittsburgh Collections, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1925, no. 17, repro.
- Paintings and Drawings by Thomas Gainsborough, R.A., Cincinnati Art Museum, 1931, no. 6, pl. 30.
- Extended loan for use by Ambassador David K.E. Bruce, U.S. Embassy residence, London, England, 1961-1969.
- Extended loan for use by the U.S. Embassy, London, England, 1978-
- Armstrong, Sir Walter. Gainsborough & His Place in English Art. London, 1898: 194; popular ed., London, 1904: 263.
- Parke-Bernet, New York. Sale Catalogue. 4-5 December 1941: 2nd day, no. 23.
- Waterhouse, Sir Ellis. Gainsborough. London, 1958: no. 189.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 55
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 47, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 144, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 166, 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: 102-102, repro. 102.
The medium-weight canvas is plain woven; it was lined during conservation, 1980-1981. The ground or imprimatura is a pale pinkish brown (there may be a white or off-white layer underneath). The painting is executed very fluidly, generally in an exceptionally rapid and painterly manner, with the ground used as a middle tone. The hair and flesh tones are extremely thinly painted, with the details of the hair applied in feathery blues, blacks, and yellows, and the features indicated in strong tints of red and blue; by contrast, the hands are very richly modeled. There are slight pentimenti in the contours of the shoulders, especially the right shoulder. The paint surface gives the impression of having been abraded, but this is due to Gainsborough's technique. Apart from a fairly large area of retouching in the trees immediately to the left of the sitter's right shoulder, and scattered small retouchings, the painting is in excellent condition. The thinly applied synthetic varnish has not discolored.