Louis Tocqué was a painter and engraver who spent the majority of his career in Paris, where he was received as a full member of the Académie Royale in 1734. Praised for his talents as a portraitist, Tocqué won several important royal commissions, including the portraits of the Dauphin, Louis de Bourbon (1738) and Maria Leczinska (1740), both of which hang today in the Louvre. His private portraits, which he exhibited at the Salon for over twenty years, allowed Tocqué to experiment more freely. In these, carefully observed textures and tones brought his sitters to life with a naturalness and immediacy that earned him great praise from his contemporaries. This realism caused a great demand for Tocqué's art throughout Europe, and he was called to work in St. Petersburg and Copenhagen. The relative informality that grew to characterize his portraits rejuvenated the tradition of portraiture throughout France and Scandinavia, and left a particularly lasting influence on artists such as Carl Gustaf Pilo and Jens Juel.
The sitter wears about his neck the medallion of 'L'Ordre du Saint-Esprit', known in English as 'The Order of the Holy Spirit' or 'The Order of the Knights of the Holy Spirit', an Order of Chivalry under the French Monarchy.