By descent to Sir John Ruggles-Brise, Bt. [b. 1908], Spains Hall, Finchingfield, Essex (sale, Sotheby's, 21 January 1976, no. 87 [with a portrait of his grandson's wife, Susannah Rawston, wrongly described as his own wife], as Kneller, bought in). Purchased by private treaty after the sale by John N. Estabrook, Chicago; by bequest to NGA from the Estate of John Nichols Estabrook, 1988.
The medium-weight canvas is plain woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, thinly and smoothly applied. There is a thin, pink imprimatura used to model the shadows in the face and which appears through the gray layers of the hair. The composition is painted within a bold gray-brown feigned oval. The painting is executed in thin layers, blended wet into wet, with boldly touched impasto in the highlights. Retouching is minimal, but some of the glazes may have become more transparent or have been thinned. The natural resin varnish is in very poor condition and is moderately discolored.
- Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 226-228, repro. 227.
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