Painted for Warren Hastings [1732-1818], Daylesford House, Gloucestershire, probably upon whose death it was returned to the sitter; by descent to Captain David Anderson [1867-1944], Bourhouse, Dunbar, East Lothian [Scotland]. (Dott & Co., Edinburgh); sold 1900 to (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London); purchased October 1903 by Dr. Eissler [possibly Dr. Gottfried or Hermann Eissler, Vienna]. Purchased c. 1924 by Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, after purchase by funds of the Estate; gift 1942 to NGA.
The medium-heavy canvas is tightly twill woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, containing white lead, and is thinly applied. The painting is executed in thin layers, with little evidence of brushmarks, and in some areas the paint does not completely cover the ground. X-radiographs and an infrared reflectograph show a woman's body to the left of the figure, and a thin but apparently bent implement depending from the man's left arm. There is some scattered unevenness in the paint surface, perhaps due to lumps in the lining adhesive. The paint surface has also been slightly abraded. The head and hair of the sitter are disfigured by shrinkage crackle in the darks. There are scattered small retouches, principally in the areas of pentimenti. The thick varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.
- Armstrong, Sir Walter. Sir Henry Raeburn. London, 1901: 95.
- Greig, James. Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A.: His Life and Works. London, 1911: 37.
- Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1931: 172, repro.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1948 (reprinted 1959): 90, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 106.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 94, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 278, repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 523, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 368, no. 521, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 322, 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: 192-194, repro. 193.