Ralph Thrale (1686-1758), a wealthy Southwark brewer, was master of the Brewers' Company, High Sheriff of Surrey, and M.P. for Southwark from 1741 to 1747. He began his career as head clerk of the Anchor Brewery in Southwark, a leading London brewery founded in 1616, securing the appointment through family connections. His cousin, Edmund Halsey, was the owner of the Anchor, and his other cousin (and heir to Edmund), Anne Halsey, married Richard Temple, first Baron Cobham, uncle to the Grenvilles and the Lytteltons. After a number of years at the brewery, Ralph Thrale purchased the brewery from Anne Halsey's executors.
When Ralph Thrale died in 1758, his son, Henry Thrale (1728-1781), inherited the Brewery. Henry Thrale married Hester Lynch Salisbury (1741-1821), for a portrait of whom, see lot 59.