James Edward Oglethorpe was the third and youngest son of Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe, of St. James's parish, London, and Eleanor Wall, of Tipperary. He was Member of Parliament for Haslemere (1722-1754) and chairman of the parliamentary committe on the debtors' prison in 1729. In 1732 he set sail for America, having obtained a charter to colonise Georgia, partly designed to act as a barrier for the British colonies against the Spanish. Although Oglethorpe failed in an attack on the town of St. Augustine in 1740, his regiment of Georgian militia and Indian allies successfully defended Spanish attacks on Georgia. In 1744 he married Elizabeth, the only surviving daughter and heiress of Sir Nathan Wright, 2nd Bt..
In view of the map in this portrait, Oglethorpe may seem a likely candidate for the sitter, but his iconography, as given in J. Kerslake, National Portrait Gallery: Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, I, p. 194; II, pls. 572-575, raises some doubt as to this identification.