Painted for the sitters' father, David Monro Binning [1776-1843], Argaty and Softlaw, Perthshire, Scotland; by inheritance to the elder son in the picture, George Home Monro Binning Home [1804-1884], Argaty; by inheritance to his grand-nephew, Dr. George Home Monro-Home [b. 1865], Argaty; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 3 May 1902, no. 97); (Thos. Agnew & Sons, London); sold 1902 to (M. Knoedler & Co., London); purchased by John Woodruff Simpson [1850-1920], New York; by inheritance to his wife, Mrs. John W. Simpson [née Katherine Seney, d. 1943], New York; gift 1942 to NGA.
- Possibly Associated Society of Artists, Edinburgh, 1811, no. 187, as A Portrait of Two Boys.
- Loan Exhibition of Old Masters for the Benefit of the Artists' Fund and Artists' Aid Societies, M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1912, unnumbered catalogue, repro., as The Sons of David Monro Binning.
- Armstrong, Sir Walter. Sir Henry Raeburn. London, 1901: 96, repro. opp. 68.
- Greig, James. Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A.: His Life and His Works. London, 1911: 38.
- 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. 526, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 368, no.518, 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: 204-205, repro. 204.
The medium-weight canvas is twill woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, of moderate thickness. The painting is executed thinly, with smoothly blended brushwork in the heads and costume, fluid and sketchy brushwork in the hands, collars, and background, and low impasto in the highlights. The paint surface is slightly abraded, increasing the transparency in some of the darks and the sky, and has been severely flattened during lining. There is scattered retouching. The thick natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.