Painted for the sitter's parents, John [d. 1795] and Lydia [d. 1822] Heathcote, Conington Castle, Huntingdonshire; by descent to their great-grandson, John Moyer Heathcote [1834-1912]; purchased 1913 from the Heathcote estate by (Thos. Agnew and Sons Ltd., London); sold the same year to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); sold c.1913 to Herbert, 1st Baron Michelham [1851-1919], Hellingly, Sussex; (his estate sale, Hampton & Sons, on the premises, 20 Arlington Street, London, 23-24 November 1926, 2nd day, no. 292); Captain Jefferson Davis Cohn, Paris, on behalf of (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris); sold March or April 1927 to Alvan T. Fuller [1878-1958], Boston; The Fuller Foundation, Boston; gift 1961 to NGA.
- Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French, and English Masters, British Institution, London, 1864, no. 184.
- Exhibition of Paintings Loaned by Governor Alvan T. Fuller, Art Club, Boston, 1928, no. 6.
- Paintings, Drawings, Prints from Private Collections in New England, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1939, no. 48, pl. 26.
- A Memorial Exhibition of the Collection of the Honorable Alvan T. Fuller, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1959, no. 22, repro.
The medium-weight canvas is plain woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, thinly applied. There is a very thin pinkish-brown imprimatura that serves as the middle tone in the costume and hair and provides a vibrant contrast in the sky. The painting is executed fairly thinly with opaque paints freely blended wet into wet; this is followed, in the flesh tones, by glazes of red and by a very fine, distinct application of the details of the features, and, in the landscape, by slashing distinct highlights. There is limited impasto in such details as the bouquet of flowers. The painting is in good condition apart from slight abrasion; retouching is minimal. The moderately thick natural resin varnish, lightly pigmented with black, has not discolored.
- Fulcher, George Williams. Life of Thomas Gainsborough, R.A.. 2d rev. ed. London, 1856: 228.
- Armstrong, Sir Walter. Gainsborough & His Place in English Art. London, 1898: 197; popular ed., London, 1904: 269.
- Taylor, Basil. Gainsborough. London, 1951: 22, pl. 10.
- Waterhouse, Sir Ellis. Gainsborough. London, 1958.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Treasures from the National Gallery of Art, New York, 1962: 124, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 319, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 55
- Cooke, Hereward Lester. Painting Lessons from the Great Masters. London, 1968: 208, repro. (two details), color repro. opposite.
- 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.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 495, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 537, no. 493, color 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: 82-84, color repro. 83.
- Zuffi, Stefano and Francesca Castria, La peinture baroque. Translated from Italian by Silvia Bonucci and Claude Sophie Mazéas. Paris, 1999: 364, color repro.