William Cotton. A Catalogue of the Portraits Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt., P.R.A. London, 1857, p. 21, as Miss Dashwood, who sat in May 1764.
Charles Robert Leslie and Tom Taylor. Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds. London, 1865, vol. 1, p. 240.
Algernon Graves and William Vine Cronin. A History of the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A. 1, London, 1899, vol. 1, p. 343, explain that the painting, in which the sitter appears as a shepherdess, is of an unusual size and was probably cut down from a whole-length that included two lambs in a landscape (sold, as a fragment of the present picture, by Bewick, at Christie's London, June 13, 1859, no. 161, for £4.5.0, bought in).
Walter Armstrong. Sir Joshua Reynolds, First President of the Royal Academy. London, 1900, p. 207.
A. L. Baldry. Sir Joshua Reynolds. London, , p. xxiv.
Sir Isidore Spielmann Notes on British Section by J. Comyns Carr in Catalogue of the International Fine Arts Exhibition: Souvenir of the British Section. Exh. cat., British Fine Art Palace. Rome, 1911, pp. 39, 51, 153, 155, no. 78, ill.
A. G. Temple. "The Works of Deceased British Painters at the International Exhibition at Rome, 1911." Connoisseur 30 (June 1911), p. 81.
Ralph Flint. "From 'Van Dyck to Lawrence' in Newhouse Show." Art News 30 (January 30, 1932), p. 6, ill. on cover.
Ellis K. Waterhouse. Reynolds. London, 1941, p. 53.
Alexander S. Gourlay and John E. Grant. "The Melancholy Shepherdess in Prospect of Love and Death in Reynolds and Blake." Bulletin of Research in the Humanities 85 (Summer 1982), pp. 169–79, 183, 185–89, figs. 1, 3 (reconstruction), assume that the portrait was full-length, with the lambs in a landscape at lower left; suggest that the sarcophagus is that of Lord Garlies's first wife, who died in childbirth, that the subject of the relief is a variant of the Wounding of Venus, and that Reynolds "elevate[d] a society portrait almost to the dignity of an allegorical or historical subject".
Alexander S. Gourlay. "Iphigenia in England: A Postscript to 'The Melancholy Shepherdess'." Bulletin of Research in the Humanities 86 (1983), pp. 223–26, identifies the Medici Vase (Florence, Uffizi), which Reynolds copied while in Rome in 1750, as the source for the female figure in the relief.
Oliver Millar. "Reynolds at the Royal Academy." Burlington Magazine 128 (March 1986), p. 229.
Nicholas Penny in "Arising from the Reynolds Exhibition." Burlington Magazine 128 (October 1986), p. 761.
Nicholas Penny in Reynolds. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London. New York, 1986, pp. 221–22, no. 54, ill. pp. 104 (color) and 221, proposes that the portrait may have been only slightly larger; finds Gourlay and Grant's proposal unconvincing; reports Aileen Ribeiro's remarks on the costume.
Renate Prochno. Joshua Reynolds. Weinheim, 1990, pp. 89–90, fig. 57, as one of two portrait sitters presented in the role of a shepherdess, the other being Lady Mary Leslie (The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood).
Roy Strong. "The British Obsession: An Introduction to the British Portrait." The British Portrait 1660–1960. Woodbridge, England, 1991, p. 53, pl. 46.
Katharine Baetjer. "British Portraits in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Summer 1999), pp. 24–26, ill. (color).
David Mannings and Martin Postle. Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings (The Subject Pictures catalogued by Martin Postle). New Haven, 2000, vol. 1, p. 160, no. 480; vol. 2, colorpl. 54, fig. 780, list four appointments with Miss Dashwood, May 21 and 26 and June 2 and 7, 1764; assume that the composition was full-length and included the lambs; find the pose reminiscent of Lely and similar to that in a 1759 portrait of "Mrs. Charles Proby" [vol. 1, p. 385, no. 1490; vol. 2, fig. 441].
Julius Bryant. Kenwood: Paintings in the Iveagh Bequest. New Haven, 2003, pp. 312, 314 n. 3.
Katharine Baetjer. British Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1575–1875. New York, 2009, pp. 70–72, no. 29, ill. (color).