This work could be a portrait, a disguised portrait, or a subject picture. It came to the Museum in 1923 identified as a Miss Walker by John Opie. Ten years later Collins Baker pointed out that it is not by Opie but is from the school of Hoppner (verbal opinion recorded in departmental files). Hoppner, in his portraits of children, made a specialty of this sort of bright-eyed, engaged expression. Several children with birds figure among Reynolds’s subject pictures, and his portrait of Lady Gertrude Fitzpatrick (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Liverpool) shows the little girl in an unusual pose, very similar to the one here.
The picture, broadly painted, is very well preserved.
[2010; adapted from Baetjer 2009]