Lawrence Geoghegan (or Gahagan, as it was later anglicised) was the senior - and most successful - member of an Irish family of sculptors who all flourished in the late 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. He began his career in Dublin but soon moved to London and seems to have made a speciality of small bronze portrait busts.
The present marble statuette of the 17th century painter Sir Anthony Van Dyke is after a celebrated original composition by the sculptor Michael Rysbrack, who created it, along with a pendant of figure of Rubens, in the 1740s. Geoghegan is listed as having enrolled at the Dublin Society Drawing Schools in 1753, and is recorded as having received a premium for 'a piece of sculpture' in 1756. A plaster version of the Van Dyck remains in the Dublin Society and its presence would suggest, along with the dating of the present piece, that the marble offered here is the sculpture for which Geoghegan received the premium. It therefore represents an important early work by the artist, before his departure from Ireland to seek his fame abroad.