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Painted for the sitter's husband, John Taylor [1738-1814], Bordesley Park and Moseley Hall, Birmingham; by descent to George W. Taylor, Pickenhall Hall, Swaffham, Norfolk, who sold it sometime after 1903.[1] (Trotti et cie., Paris). (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); purchased September 1905(?)[2] by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Loan Collection of Portraits, City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 1903, no. 27.

Technical Summary

The canvas is finely plain woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, of moderate thickness. A thinly painted imprimatura serves as a middle tone. The painting is executed thinly and fluidly, with rich translucent layers blended wet into wet in the flesh tones, and the features and details marked with thicker, deftly applied, multicolored strokes; shading is accomplished with diagonal hatching. The impasto has been flattened during lining; there are few paint losses. Traction crackle is evident in the darks. The natural resin varnish has discolored yellow slightly.


Armstrong, Sir Walter. Gainsborough & His Place in English Art. London, 1898: 203; popular ed., London, 1904: 280.
Wallis, Whitworth. Catalogue of Loan Collection of Portraits. Birmingham, 1903: nos. 26, 27.
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 72, no. 100.
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): 101, repro.
Waterhouse, Sir Ellis. Gainsborough. London, 1958: no. 655.
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: 47, 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. 508, color repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 361, no. 506, color repro.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 164, 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: 90-92, repro. 91.

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