Painted for John Johnstone [1734-1795], Alva House, Clackmannanshire, fourth son of Sir James Johnstone, 3rd Bt., of Westerhall; by descent to his great-grandson, Major James Johnstone [1865-1906], Hangingshaw, Selkirk; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 26 May 1906, no. 92); purchased by Wood. Mrs. P. Nelke; sold to (Lewis & Simmons, Paris); purchased July 1928 by Mr. [d. 1935] and Mrs. [d. 1945] Robert W. Schuette, New York; bequest 1945 to NGA.
- Catalogue of a Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1933, no. 201, repro.
- A Survey of British Painting, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1938, no. 37, repro.
- Masterpieces of Art. European & American Paintings 1500-1900, New York World's Fair, 1940, no. 146, repro.
- Raeburn: The Art of Sir Henry Raeburn 1756-1823, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh; National Portrait Gallery, London, 1997-1998, no. 23, repro., as John Johnstone of Alva 1734-95, Betty Johnstone and Miss Wedderburn.
- Armstrong, Sir Walter. Sir Henry Raeburn. London, 1901: 106.
- Greig, James. Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A.: His Life and Works. London, 1911: 50.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 106, as David Johnstone of Alva, His Sister and His Niece.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 94, repro., as David Johnstone of Alva, His Sister and His Niece.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 278, repro., as David Johnstone of Alva, His Sister and His Niece.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 525, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 368, no. 519, color repro., as John Johnstone of Alva, His Sister, and His Niece.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 323, 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: 194-196, repro. 195.
- Thomson, Duncan. Raeburn: The Art of Sir Henry Raeburn 1756-1823, Exh. cat. Scottish National Portrait Gallery at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh; National Portrait Gallery, London, 1997-1998, p. 99, no. 23, repro.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 277, no. 223, color repro.
The medium-weight canvas is twill woven; it has been lined. The ground is white, thinly and evenly applied. The painting is broadly executed, mostly in thin layers, but with several areas of low impasto. The painting is in good condition except for numerous small areas of discolored overpaint scattered throughout. The thinly applied natural resin varnish has discolored yellow to a significant degree.