The sitter, Ann Maria Harriet de Rhodes (1793-1849), née Gossip, married the Rev. Cornelius Heathcote de Rhodes (1792-1844).
Sir William Beechey, who had trained at the Royal Academy Schools, which he entered in 1774, first exhibited at the Academy in 1776 and was to have one of the longest careers as an Academy exhibitor. His early portraits were mostly small scale full-lengths but from the 1780s he began to paint portraits on the scale of life. His portraiture enjoyed considerable success in London and he was never short of commissions. His straightforward style fitted well with the taste of the royal family whose patronage he enjoyed and he was appointed portrait painter to Queen Charlotte (1793) and later to William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester (circa 1813), and King William IV (after 1830). His ability and success was reflected in his election as a Royal Academician in 1798 and in the same year the esteem in which he was held by the royal family led to a knighthood.