George Williams Fulcher. Life of Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. London, 1856, pp. 193, 200, 207, 232, lists "A Boy with a cat—morning" and "A Boy at a cottage fire, and a girl eating milk" among paintings in Gainsborough's studio on March 30, 1789.
Engravings from the Works of Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. by J. Scott, G. H. Every, G. Sanders, and Other Eminent Engravers. London, n.d. [ca. 1880], unpaginated, no. 110, ill., publishes an engraving after the painting titled "Autumn," by J. Scott, dated 1877, "[f]rom the Scarce Engraving by C. Turner".
Henry Percy Horne. An Illustrated Catalogue of Engraved Portraits and Fancy Subjects Painted by Thomas Gainsborough, R.A., Published between 1760 and 1820, and by George Romney, Published between 1770 and 1830, with the Variations of the State of the Plates. London, 1891, p. 27, no. 82, records the engraving after the painting by Charles Turner, which was titled "The Little Cottager" and published in 1809.
Mrs. Arthur Bell (N. D'Anvers). Thomas Gainsborough: A Record of His Life and Works. London, 1897, ill. opp. p. 138 (Turner engraving).
Walter Armstrong. Gainsborough & His Place in English Art. London, 1898, p. 209 [popular ed., New York, 1904, p. 291], as "Child (Jack Hill) with a Cat".
Masters in Art: Gainsborough 2 (1901), p. 39.
Gustav Pauli. Gainsborough. Bielefeld, 1904, p. 103, fig. 55 (Turner mezzotint), as Jack Hill with his cat, one of the paintings in which the boy played the principal role.
P[ercy]. M[oore]. Turner. "Pictures of the English School in New York." Burlington Magazine 22 (February 1913), p. 269, as "Girl with a Cat . . . an obvious work by Gainsborough Dupont, to whom it is now rightly given in the label attached . . . ".
William T[homas]. Whitley. Thomas Gainsborough. New York, 1915, pp. 293, 322, 324, 329, notes that the companion piece, which he calls "Jack Hill in his Cottage," was begun in December 1787 just after Gainsborough completed Lord Porchester's picture (MMA 50.145.17); that both were in the artist's studio at the time of his death and, although highly regarded, neither found a buyer at the 1788 estate sale; mentions small versions exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1883.
C. H. Collins Baker. British Painting. London, 1933, p. 279, as "Peasant Child and Cat," by Gainsborough with Gainsborough Dupont.
Chauncey Brewster Tinker. Painter and Poet: Studies in the Literary Relations of English Painting, The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures for 1937–1938. Cambridge, Mass., 1938, p. 90, mentions that the painting has darkened and is seldom shown.
Tancred Borenius. "Editorial: Gainsborough's Collection of Pictures." Burlington Magazine 84 (May 1944), p. 109.
Ellis K. Waterhouse. "Gainsborough's 'Fancy Pictures'." Burlington Magazine 88 (June 1946), p. 140, no. 13, pl. IIA, proposes that the lower price by comparison with the companion piece [no. 12] at the estate sale suggests that the present picture may have been unfinished; points out that the two were probably acquired by Sheridan, as he lent this one to the British Institution in 1814, and the pair was valued for him by Rising in that same year at 300 guineas.
Ellis Waterhouse. Gainsborough. London, 1958, p. 104, no. 809, pl. 282, the painting and its companion piece both painted at the close of 1787; the MMA picture "[n]ow a ruin".
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 74 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Adrian Le Harivel, Rosemarie Mulcahy, and Homan Potterton. The Beit Collection. Dublin, 1988, p. 12, mention it in their discussion of the role of Jack Hill as Gainsborough's model.
Thomas Gainsborough. Ed. John Hayes. Exh. cat., Palazzo dei Diamanti. Ferrara, 1998, pp. 60, 166–67, no. 52, ill. (color), observes that Bate Dudley wrote of it in the Morning Herald shortly after it was painted; describes the social conditions that gave rise to the appearance in London of such models.
Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, pp. 112–14, no. 50, ill. (color).
Gainsborough and the Landscape of Refinement. Exh. cat., Lowell Libson Ltd at Mitchell-Inness & Nash, New York. London, 2014, pp. 60, 62, ill. (color), under no. 12, catalogues a study for the figure of the boy that includes a suggestion of the cat at lower left (pencil, 8 7/8 x 6 1/16 in., about 1786–87).