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Painted May 1786 for the sitter's family;[1] by inheritance to the sitter's son, the Reverend William Drake-Brockman [1788-1847], Beachborough House, Newington, Hythe, Kent; by inheritance to his brother, the Reverend Tatton Drake-Brockman [1792-1869], Beachborough House; by inheritance to his brother, Frederick Drake-Brockman [1810-1876], Beachborough House; by inheritance to his nephew, Francis Drake-Brockman [1851-1931], Beachborough House; probably sold to (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London); sold 1908 to (M. Knoedler and Co., New York, London, and Paris).[2] sold to Herbert, 1st baron Michelham [1851-1919], Hellingly, Sussex, by 1911;[3] (his estate sale, Hampton & Sons, London, on the premises, 20 Arlington Street, London, 23-24 November 1926, 2nd day, no. 290);[4] (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); sold 1927 to Andrew W. Mellon [1865-1937], Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Old Masters, Grafton Galleries, London, 1911, no. 37, pl. 27.
Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Thomas Gainsborough, R.A., Cincinnati Art Museum, 1931, no. 46, pl. 44.
Thomas Gainsborough, 1727-1788, Tate Britain, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2002-2003, no. 67, repro. (shown only in London and Washington).

Technical Summary

The canvas, which is plain woven, was enlarged at the top and on the left side by 2 cm during the execution of the picture; it has been lined. The white ground is of moderate thickness. The painting is executed in thin, fluid layers, blended wet into wet. X-radiographs show that the blue sash had a strong highlight in the area now occupied by the third finger of the sitter's right hand, and blue paint can be seen through the traction crackle in the paint of the hand; it is evident, therefore, that the hand clasping the sash was added after the sash had been completely modeled. The thinnest areas have been abraded and the texture of the canvas has been strongly impressed into the paint surface during lining; there are fine retouchings, chiefly in the hair, but there are no major losses. The pigmented natural resin varnish has discolored yellow slightly.


Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Old Masters of the English School in the Posession of the Rt. Hon. Lord Michelham, .... London, 1912: 2, repro.
Duveen Brothers. Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941: no. 283, repro.
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 71-72, no. 99.
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 241, repro. 13.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 112, repro.
Waterhouse, Sir Ellis. Gainsborough. London, 1958: no. 653.
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 54.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 46, repro.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 142, repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 497, color repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 357, no. 495, color repro.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 164, repro.
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 68, 69, color 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: 106-108, repro. 107.
Rather, Susan. The American School: Artists and Status in the Late Colonial and Early National Era. New Haven, 2016: 180-181, color fig. 135.

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