Greville is now best-known for commissioning views of Warwick Castle from Canaletto while the artist was in England. He also sat to both Reynolds and Gainsborough.
He was the son of William, 7th Baron Brooke, and Mary Thynne, and became Baron Brooke aged eight, upon the death of his parents. After studying at Winchester he followed the contemporary fashion for young noblemen and went on the Grand Tour. From 1735, he spent five years travelling around Europe, but during his stay in Italy he suffered from ill health. This may explain why he did not have his portrait painted by an Italian artist, as was customary, despite already having shown his interest in patronage by commissioning a picture of himself at Winchester. Instead, he commissioned his Grand Tour portrait on his return journey, via Switzerland and Paris, where he came into contact with the French portraitist Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1786). Nattier painted his portrait in 1740, of which the present work appears to be a copy by his pupil and son-in-law, Louis Tocqué. Nattier was also asked to paint a portrait of Elizabeth Hamilton, whom Greville married in 1742.