The sitter was the daughter of Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke and 5th Earl of Montgomery (1656-1732/3) and his second wife, Barbara (d. 1722), daughter of Sir Thomas Slingsby, 2nd Bt., of Scriven, York and widow of firstly Sir Richard Mauliverer, 4th Bt and secondly, 2nd Baron Arundell of Trerice. Lady Barbara North was the only child of that marriage. The 8th Earl was the principal founder of a highly significant art collection that remains largely intact at the family seat of Wilton, though the Wilton diptych, presently in the National Gallery, London, was sold in 1929. Barbara married Dudley North, son of Dudley North of Glemham (see lot 52) and his wife Catherine (see lot 53).
Charles Jervas, an Irish painter, was both pupil and assistant to Sir Godfrey Kneller from 1694-1695. In 1699 he travelled to Rome via Paris, funded by various patrons. On his return to England in 1709 he established a successful practice as a portraitist, and was noted for his portraits of fashionable beauties. In 1723 Jervas succeeded Kneller as Principal Painter to King George I, retaining the position under King George II.