George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover [1797-1833]; by descent to his granddaughter, the Hon. Lilah Agar-Ellis, later Lady Annaly [1862-1944], until c. 1922. (M. Knoedler & Co., London and New York); sold January 1922 to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; gift to his daughter, Ailsa Mellon Bruce [1901-1969], New York, by 1937; bequest 1970 to NGA.
The fine canvas is plain woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, of moderate thickness. The painting is executed in thin washes, followed by increasingly pigmented colors, with highlights applied in a fluid white impasto. The paint has been abraded in the thinnest background washes, and the impasto has been slightly flattened during lining. There is a good deal of retouching, notably in the rocks at lower right. The sitter's right wrist and index finger have been reinforced. The layers of varnish, one of them pigmented, have discolored yellow slightly.
- Waterhouse, Ellis Kirkham. "Preliminary Check List of Portraits by Thomas Gainsborough." Walpole Society 33 (1953): 98.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 144, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 140, 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: 69-71, repro. 70.
- Tansey, Richard G. and Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner's Art Through the Ages. 10th ed. Fort Worth, 1996: 899, color fig. 25.24.