It is possible that the sitters are two of the children of Thomas Lister (baptised 5 December 1665) of Arnoldsbigging, Yorkshire, and Elizabeth (d. 1709), second daughter of John Parker of Extwisle. Of their children, a daughter, Mary, married Ralph Assheton of Downham and Cuerdale on 19 April 1716, and their eldest son and heir, Thomas (1688-1745) of Arnoldsbigging and Westby, married Beatrice, third daughter of Jessop Hulton of Hulton Park, Lancashire. He was Member of Parliament for Clitheroe between 1713 and 1745, where he built Gisburne Park, a fine Georgian mansion which became the seat of his son, Thomas, 1st Baron Ribblesdale, and his successors.
Harman Verelst, thought to have been born in the Hague, trained under his father, the portrait painter Pieter Verelst. By 1680 he was in the service of the Emperor at Vienna, but he left for England in 1683 on account of the Turkish attack. His brother Simon (who came to England in 1699), son Cornelius and daughter Maria, were also successful artists.