Cornwallis held the office of Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in India and Calcutta in 1786 and was created Marquis Cornwallis in 1792. In the same year he was painted by John Smart who lived and worked in India between 1785 and 1795. He was painted more than once by Smart and the present miniature is close to the example now in the Starr Collection, Missouri, USA (see The Starr Collection of Miniatures in the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri, 1971, no. 125, illustrated in colour p. 31, signed and dated 1792). A similar, slightly smaller, miniature of the same date is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (R. Bayne-Powell, Catalogue of Portrait Miniatures in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge, 1985, no. 3922, illustrated p. 202) also signed and dated 1792, and a further version is in a private collection, New York. The pencil drawing, executed in the same year, is in the National Portrait Gallery (no. 4316).