in a later hand, on reverse in ink: Dundas; and: Mat Brown.
Painted for James, 5th Duke of Hamilton (1702/3-1742/3); by descent to Alfred, 13th Duke of Hamilton; (his sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 6-7 November 1919, 1st day, no. 7, as by Mather Brown); bought by (Tooth Bros.), London; from whom it was purchased 4 February 1920 by (G. Stanley Sedgwick) for Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York; sold by Clarke's executors to (M. Knoedler & Co.), New York, from whom it was purchased 29 January 1936, as part of the Clarke collection, by The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift to NGA, 1947.
- Portraits Painted in Europe by Early American Artists, The Union League Club, New York, January 1922, no. 11, as Alexander Hamilton [Tenth Duke of Hamilton, Scotland] by Mather Brown.
- Portraits by Early American Artists of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Collected by Thomas B. Clarke, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928-1931, unnumbered and unpaginated catalogue, as Alexander Hamilton by Mather Brown.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 18, repro., as Attributed to Mather Brown.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 30, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 436.
- Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 53-56, repro. 55.
The canvas is plain woven. It is unlined, and probably still attached to its original stretcher; the original tacking margins survive intact. The canvas was primed before being attached to the stretcher. The weft at the bottom is distorted upward, suggesting that a significant piece of canvas has been cut from the lower edge; since the tacking margin on the lower edge is unpainted (confirming that the painting has not been reduced in size), the probable explanation is that the canvas used for the picture was cut from a much larger pre-primed length. The ground is gray-green. The painting is executed fairly thickly, blended wet into wet, with considerable reworking of the costume. X-radiographs show that the painting was originally planned as an oval, and that the arm had been positioned twice before the present attitude was reached. There is extensive retouching across the shoulder and in the foreground, and possibly elsewhere. The thick varnish has discolored to a significant degree.