Prince Eugene of Savoy was one of the most successful military commanders in modern European history and rose to the highest offices of state at the Imperial court in Vienna. Born in Paris, Eugene grew up at the court of King Louis XIV but owing to his poor physique he was rejected by the French army and moved to Austria, transferring his allegiance to the Habsburg monarchy. He served three Holy Roman Emperors: Leopold I, Joseph I and Charles VI. He fought alongside the Duke of Marlborough against the French army at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 during the War of Spanish Succession. He was considered by Emperor Napoleon as one of the seven greatest commanders in history, counting among them Alexander the Great of Russia, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, Turenne and Frederick the Great of Prussia.
Four other versions of this miniature are known. One is in the Portland Collection (see R. W. Goulding, The Welbeck Abbey Miniatures, Oxford, 1916, no. 131, p. 117). There are two in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch (see exhibition catalogue Portrait Miniatures from the Collection of the Duke of Buccleuch, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1996, no. 64, p. 58, illustrated in colour, and H. A. Kennedy, ‘Early English Portrait Miniatures in the Collection of the Duke of Buccleuch’, The Studio, 1917, pp. 26, 41, ill. pl. LXIII). Another is in the collection of the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle.