Don Joaquín Felix de Samaniego, Conde de Torrejón, Grande de Espaa, Marques de Valverde de la Sierra, Marques de Caracena del Valle, Maestrante de Valencia, Lord in Waiting and Master of the Household of Queen Isabella II, was born in Madrid on 22 February 1769, and became a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1816. He married Doa Teresa Rita de Godoy Pizarro de Carvajal, 10th Condesa de Torrejón, becoming Conde de Torrejón jure uxoris; the Condesa was a cousin of Manuel de Godoy, Prince of the Peace and Prime Minister of Spain. As major domo of the the Queen's Household, Don Joaquín Felix became one of the most powerful men at court; he was also Councillor of State and Gentleman of the Royal Chamber. His son, Don Joaquín de la Cruz de Samaniego y Godoy, had become 11th Conde de Torrejón in 1808, and thus this portrait has the distinction of depicting two contemporary counts of the title. The canary he holds may be a reference to the Canary Islands, undisputedly Spanish territory since 1479.
Carlos Blanco, whose nickname El Sereno (the serene one, the tranquil one) suits the Neoclassical gravitas and directness with which he portrayed the elite of Spanish society, combined these qualities with a fluidity of handling and psychological interest imbibed from the works of Goya, whose influence can also be discerned in the works of Blanco's contemporaries Agustin Esteve and Vicente Lopez. Although little is known of Blanco's biography, his surviving works, including his celebrated portrait of Ferdinand VII (Madrid, Ministerio de Hacienda) and the Saint Benedict and Saint Dominic in the Cathedral in Cadiz, provide an idea of his saught-after talents.