Admiral Keith saw active service throughout the Napoleonic wars. He was made Baron Keith of the United Kingdom in 1797 and admiral in 1801. Raised to a viscounty in 1814, he was at Plymouth when Napoleon surrendered, and as the Prince Regent's representative, received Napoleon's final surrender and supervised the Emperor's removal to exile on the isle of St. Helena in 1815.
The sitter descends from Lady Mary Keith, wife of the 6th Earl of Wigton and mother of Lady Clementina Fleming, wife of Charles, 10th Baron Elphinstone.
George Lethbridge Saunders spent his early career in Edinburgh and was better known as a miniaturist, though painted full-scale portraits for a period from 1812. The present portrait is a bust-length detail of the full-length portrait in the Collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.