Although the young sitter in the present work is currently unidentified, given its provenance he is likely to be a member of the House of Hanover and a young King George III (1683-1760) has been suggested. He wears a theatrical version of a Hungarian hussar's uniform. The English awareness of Central European customs, history and dress developed strongly from the mid-seventeenth century on, due in large part to Elisabeth, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia (the so-called 'Winter Queen'), sister of King Charles I. She was a Romantic symbol of the Stuart cause during the Commonwealth, and the only claim of the Hanoverian dynasty to the British throne was based on their descent from her. If the sitter in this portrait is a Hanover, the Hungarian dress would be extremely significant, as it would recall their descent from a Stuart princess who became Queen of Bohemia, reminding the viewer of the legitimacy of their claim to the British throne.
The hussars originated in the late seventeenth century as a regiment devoted to defending the Hungarian border against Turkish marauders. Their uniform borrowed elements from Eastern dress, and was in turn adopted by the British as a particularly popular masquerade costume. The pointed, fur-trimmed cap, tunic and jacket fastened with loops of gold braid, and wide sash, evidently all made of brightly-coloured satin, suggest that the sitter is a fashionable gentleman. Numerous portraits of men in hussar masquerade are known, among them Arthur Devis' famous double-portrait of Mr. and Mrs. William Ricketts in the grounds at Ranelagh (formerly R. St. Vincent Parker-Jervis; present location unknown).