Carlile Pollock [1749-1806], New Orleans and New York, the sitter's brother; by descent, through his daughter and grandson, to his grandniece, Mrs. Emma G. Terry Lull; sold by 1896 to George H. Story, New York; by whom sold to (Ehrich Bros., New York); from whom purchased 1913 by Jesse A. Wasserman, New York. (Ehrich Bros., New York); sold to (Doll and Richards); from whom it was purchased 1916 by Mrs. David P. Kimball, Boston; sold 17 December 1918 to Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York; sold by Clarke's executors 29 January 1936 through (M. Knoedler & Co., New York), as part of the Clarke collection, to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1942 to NGA.
- Portraits Painted by Gilbert Stuart, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1880, no. 291.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1884-1886.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1896-1897.
- One Hundred Early American Paintings, Ehrich Galleries, New York, 1918, repro. 112.
- Portraits Painted in Europe by Early American Artists, The Union League Club, New York, January 1922, no. 17, as Betsey Hartigan by Gilbert Stuart.
- 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 Betsey Hartigan by Gilbert Stuart.
- American Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1943.
- Gilbert Stuart: Portraits Lent by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 1944-1945, no. 5.
- American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1947.
- American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1948.
- American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1949.
- American Paintings from the Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1951.
- Faces of America, Inaugural Exhibition, El Paso Museum of Art, Texas, 1960-1961, no cat.
- Extended loan for use by National Society of Colonial Dames of America, Washington, D.C., 1967-1974.
- Mason, George C. The Life and Works of Gilbert Stuart. New York, 1879: 196.
- Mudge, Alfred. Catalogue of Works of Art. (Museum of Fine Arts). Boston, 1886: 11, no. 206.
- Park, Lawrence. Gilbert Stuart. 4 vols. New York, 1926: 1:386-387, no. 380; 3:228, repro.
- Carroll, Dana. "Early American Portrait Painting." International Studio 86 (1927): 65-66.
- Cuthbert, Lee. "The Thomas B. Clarke Collection of Early American Portraits." American Magazine of Art 19 (1928): 304.
- Mount, Charles Merrill. Gilbert Stuart: A Biography. New York, 1964: 369.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 104, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 230, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 436.
- Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 24-27, repro. 25.
The medium-weight canvas is plain woven; it has been lined twice. The ground is white, thinly applied. The composition itself is oval in format, and a brush-drawn line defines the arc of the oval; the area outside the oval is painted in dark brown. The painting is executed thinly, loosely in most areas except for the flesh, which is painted in careful, transparent glazes, with the features quite delicately applied. X-radiographs show a pentimento in the frilled collar, which was originally higher, revealing less of the sitter's bosom. The paint surface is slightly abraded; areas around two tears about five centimeters long to the right of the head have been heavily overpainted, and there is scattered, minor retouching. The fairly thick natural resin varnish has discolored to a moderate degree.