This present pastel is one of the earliest known works by Cotes. His work emerged out of the continental pastel tradition and the English rococo milieu of the 1740s. In this example he employs the contemporary fashionable treatment of drapery with its rapid movement and soft, subtle light effects emphasising the sumptuous fabric.
An image of the present watercolour is in the Heinz Archive, London and catalogued in Johnson op.cit., p.55, no. 34 where the sitter is identified as 'Captain Nugent. It seems probable that this Captain Nugent is the same as Lieut.-Col. The Hon. Edmund Caggs-Nugent, painted at a later date by Gainsborough. He was the first son of Robert Craggs-Nugent, Earl Nugent of Carlanstown, Co. Westmeath, and Viscount Clare. Edmond died without issue in 1771.