It has been suggested that the sitter is a member of either the Wilcocks, Milner or Lodge families. Joseph Wilcocks (1673-1756), Bishop of Gloucester and Dean of Westminster, began his impressive career as the chaplain to the English factory and embassy at Lisbon. It was there that he met and married Jane Milner (1697-1725), the daughter of the British Consul to Lisbon, John Milner. The couple are buried together in Westminster Abby, where their son, Joseph Wilcocks (1724-1791), erected a monument to them.
Joseph Wilcocks Jr. conducted a very successful career as a noted antiquarian and philanthropist. He was elected FSA in 1765 and counted Edmund Burke and Benjamin West amongst his friends. Wilcocks died of an apoplectic stroke on 23 December 1791 without having married. As a result, the Wilcocks name and arms were granted to John Lodge, the husband of Jane Milner's sister Katherine, by King George III in 1796. The family papers and charter of arms relating to the Lodge-Wilcocks change of title have historically been associated with the present miniature and those in lot 318.
The present miniature dates to circa 1775-1782 and therefore relates to the ensuing generation.
A 'Sir William' and 'Mrs R. S.' Milner are recorded on the list of Smart's known sitters, but the dates and signature details are not given (D. Foskett, John Smart, the Man and His Miniatures, London, 1964, p. 71).