Sir Thomas Lawley, 1st Bt., of Spoonhill, Salop, was the son of Francis Lawley, of Spoonhill, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Richard Newport of High Ercall. He was Member of Parliament for Wenlock (1625-6; and 1628-9) and was created a baronet on 16 August 1641. His wife Anne (d.1646), for whom see the following lot, was the daughter and co-heir of John Manning of Hackney.
The connection between the Lawley and the Gibbs families was established with the marriage of George Abraham Gibbs, 1st Baron Wraxall, and the Hon. Ursula Lawley, O.B.E., elder daughter of Sir Arthur Lawley, 6th and last Baron Wenlock, of Monckhopton House, Bridgnorth, Salop. Their elder son George, succeeded as the 2nd Baron Wraxall, his elder half-brothers from his father's first marriage, George and Antony, having predeceased their father.
Edward Bower was almost certainly based in London and from 1629 he appears in the records of the Painter Stainers Company, of which he became Master in 1661. He had a studio at Temple Bar in London by 1637 and is perhaps best known for the three variant portraits which he made of King Charles I at his trial in January 1648/9 which were widely copied. This portrait, which would appear on the basis of the costume to date to circa 1630 can be compared stylistically to a signed full-length portrait of an unknown man by Bower which is inscribed with the date 1638 on its reverse (O. Millar, The Age of Charles I Painting in England, 1620-1649, catalogue to the exhibition at the Tate Gallery, 1972, no. 144).
We are grateful to Karen Hearn for her assistance in cataloguing this picture.