The sitter in the present portrait is Jean-Louis de Roll-Montpellier, a member of a family from Bayonne. Lord and Baron of Lasse as well as the King's councillor, he became Chief Magistrate and Mayor of Bayonne between 1738 and 1740, and was decorated with the Order of St. Michael. The present portrait dates to 1713, the year of his marriage to Anne de Mimiague.
Hyacinthe Rigaud spent time as pupil or assistant to both François de Troy and Nicolas de Largillierre, but over the course of his career he became wealthier and more celebrated than either of their masters. His mature portraits, of which the present work is an example, often positioned his subject so that glance and gesture were in opposition, thus increasing the sense of movement and dynamism. Rigaud also excelled in the representation of sumptuous fabrics, perhaps most impressively in his famous portrait of Louis XIV (Museo del Prado, Madrid). Here, Jean-Louis de Roll-Montpellier is represented in a blue velvet robe, and Rigaud intentionally turns over the edge of the drapery in order to paint the rich gold brocade lining.