Sir Bourchier Wrey of Tawstock Court, North Devon, was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, and succeeded his father, a Jacobite sympathiser, as 6th Baronet in 1726. He married first, in 1749, Mary, daughter of John Edwards of Highgate, who died without issue in 1751 and was the subject of a long Latin epitaph in the Gentleman's Magazine of that year, and secondly, in 1755, Ellen, daughter of John Thresher of Bradford. He made his Grand Tour in 1737-40, visiting Paris, Geneva, Rome, Florence and Milan, and it is likely that the present painting was acquired at that time. In 1742, he was elected to the Society of Dilettanti, a group of gentlemen who wanted to maintain an interest in the antiquarian and artistic pursuits that they had enjoyed abroad; George Knapton (1698-1778), the official portraitist of the Society, painted his portrait in 1744, in which he is depicted holding a punch bowl inscribed with a line from the Odes of Horace, 'Dulce est Desipere in Loco [it is sweet on occasion to play the fool]'. He was elected Member of Parliament for Barnstaple in 1747 and went to Bremen, Hamburg and Lubeck in 1752 as a delegate for the 'Society for carrying on the Herring Fishery'. Wrey was buried in Tawstock church where there is a pyramidal monument to him and his two wives.