John Hume of Ninewells was the elder brother of the eminent Scottish philosopher and historian, David Hume (1711-1776). The Humes of Ninewells are linked to the Barons Falconer through the marriage of Catherine Falconer (b.1683), younger sister of David, 5th Baron Falconer (1681-1751), to Joseph Hume of Ninewells (1680-1713).
James Boswell (1740-1795), lawyer and diarist best known for his biography of Samuel Johnson, described John Hume after meeting him in 1762 as "a sensible good man, who reads more than usual...Very different from his brother.".
Another version of the present portrait is in the Collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.