George Marriott was the draper of Melton who 'cut a dash amongst the yeoman farmers for many years when hunting in his blue coat with metal buttons on his unrivalled hunters'. Ferneley was widely patronised by the Marriott family, painting portraits of Miss and Master Marriott with Horse and Dogs in 1832, and both a Portrait of Mrs Marriott and a Portrait of her Horse in 1849.
The present composition was clearly extremely popular, since Ferneley painted several versions: one for Marriot himself; a second on request for Lord Kintore in 1844 (no.549 in Ferneley's Account Books); and Account Books). It is likely that the present painting relates to the last of these versions, being inscribed with the date 1845. W.S.L. Crawford may have followed Lord Kintore's lead in commissioning a copy of the original. Lord Kintore wrote of his delight at having seen the picture of 'Old Marriott' in an exhibition: 'Pray "for auld lang syne" paint a good copy for me…' (letter to Ferneley, dated 20 May 1844, from Welham, Near Malton, Yorkshire).