The sitter appears to have been from a Kentish family, although perhaps of Northumbrian origin (see E. D'Oench, catalogue to the exhibition, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, The Conversation Piece: Arthur Devis and His Contemporaries, 1980, p. 60). The son of William Lane and Frances Bateman, he married Mary Stringer at St. Mary's, Dover, on 31 October 1758, and their daughter, Frances, married James Fector at St. James's, Dover in 1783 (Ellen D'Oench, op. cit, records a suggestion that the sitter's daughter was called Mary and married a Thomas Fector). It is through the Fector family that the picture is believed to have passed until 1877. Portraits by Devis of three Lane sisters, each dated 1742, are also known.