Sotheby's Catalogue for Wednesday 27th June, 1973
THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH, R.A.
5 THE CRUTTENDEN SISTERS, ELIZABETH AND SARAH: the two sisters are seen full face, one is seated on a red chair holding a sheet of music in her right hand which rests on a round table on which there is a book, her left arm is placed on the back of her chair; her sister is standing to the right by a red curtain leaning against the chair and holding a cittern in her left hand; they are wearing similar dresses, that of the seated girl is cream coloured and the other blue green, to the left hangs a landscape 44 1/4 in. by 58 3/4 in. 112.5 cm. by 149 cm.
Edward Holden Cruttenden, who was employed in the Bengal Civil Service, married in 1746 Elizabeth
Jedderie, and their daughters Elizabeth and Sarah were baptised in 1752 and 1754 respectively. During
The Indian Mutiny [sic] Mrs. Cruttenden and her children fled to Fulta and took shelter on board one of the ships lying in the river, and it would seem that at some point during the rebellion she died. Her husband had been dismissed from the Bengal Civil Service in 1755, but was reinstated in 1756. He returned to England and in 1765 was made a director of the East India Company, which appointment he held until his death in 1771. He was also a councillor of Calcutta and Lieutenant-Governor of Fort William, Calcutta. Elizabeth married Charles Purvis of Darsham Hall, Suffolk in 1774. The same sitters together with their brother and Indian servant were also painted by Reynolds circa 1763 (See: Ellis Waterhouse, Reynolds 1941, pl 54.)
From the Collection of Edward Holden Cruttenden
From the Collection of Alexander H. Kennedy-Purvis, a descendant of the elder sister, Elizabeth
Sotheby's, Letter to Ian Cruttenden 17th May 1991
It [The Cruttenden Sisters] was sold from the Norton Simon collection (in California) on Wednesday, 27th June 1973 for £110,000 to a London dealer. It was not photographed in
colour, so I have not sent you a photograph. I believe, but cannot swear, that it was eventually sold to the Paul Mellon Collection.