James Francis Edward Keith was the younger brother of George, 10th Earl Marischal. He was a Colonel in the Spanish service 1719-1728, and General in the Russian service under Empresses Anne and Elizabeth 1728-1747. In 1747 he was appointed Field Marshall under Frederich II, King of Prussia and Govenor of Berlin. He was killed in action at Hochkirch on the 14th October 1758.
The present portrait relates to the three-quarter-length portrait of James Francis Edward Keith in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. A bust-length detail, similar to the picture offered here is in the Collection of the Bode Museum, Berlin.