Peter Romney was the younger brother of George Romney (1734-1802). A painter, very much in the style of his elder brother, he worked in oil and pastel and was apprenticed to his brother at Kendall from 1759-1762 before travelling to London with George in 1765. However he left London in 1766, unable to establish himself independently, and from then on seems to have led an aimless life, trying to establish a portrait practice in Lancaster, Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford and Ipswich, where he was arrested for debt. George Romney discharged his debts and Peter went to London and then to Stockport. His money troubles and various ill-fated love affairs rendered him mentally unstable and he took to drink. His health declined and he died, unmarried, in Stockport, in May 1777.
Nothing is known of the sitter in the present watercolour but See op.cit. p. 68 mentions 'his love for Miss Shuttleworth (1768)'.