After Pitt's death in 1806, the sculptor Joseph Nollekens was asked to take a death mask which he used as a model to make marble busts of the ex-Prime Minister. Within a year he boasted that he had orders for 52 examples of the bust. According to his biographer J. T. Smith, he eventually sold 74 replicas in marble and later 600 plaster casts.
Lorenzo Bartolini, an Italian sculptor based in Florence who became popular with English patrons, was involved in the lucrative trade in copies of ancient and modern sculpture. In 1817 Henry Matthews observed that 'casts have been imported from London of busts of the King, Fox, Pitt, Nelson, Perceval and many others. Bartolini reproduces in marble and sends back to London' (Matthews cited in Kenworthy-Browne, loc. cit.).
The faintly incised eyes, heavily pronounced eyelids, long nostrils and distinctive carving of Pitt's swept back hair in the present portrait all point to the handling of Bartolini. These features can be seen, for example, in the plaster bust of a man included in the Prato exhibition (Prato, loc. cit.) and in the face of the central figure in the Marble Monument to the Poet Francesco Benedetti in the Biblioteca del Comune e dell'Accademia Etrusca in Cortona (Tinti, loc. cit.).