John Yardley Bradford was commissioned Ensign in the Bengal Native Infantry of the Honourable East India Company in 1783. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1790, to Captain in 1802 and to Major in 1808, the year before his retirement. This portrait may have been commissioned to mark either his promotion, or his retirement.
Arthur William Devis sailed to Calcutta in September 1784 and remained in India until 1795. On his arrival in Calcutta, he received lucrative portrait commissions from the departing Governor-General, Warren Hastings, and from the High Court Judge Sir Robert Chambers. Devis is likely to have met Bradford on his visit to Bengal in the late 1790s, when Devis collected material for a series of subject paintings depicting 'the arts, manufacturers, and agriculture of Bengal'.
We are grateful to Colonel Walton for his thoughts on the uniform in this portrait.