Alan Legge Gardner (1810-1883), 3rd Baron, was the only son and heir of the 2nd Baron Gardner (1771-1815) and his second wife, Charlotte Elizabeth (d.1811), third daughter of the 1st Baron Carrington. He married twice, first in 1835 to Francis Margaret, daughter of the 1st Baron Dinorben, who died without issue in 1847, and second to Julia Sarah Hayfield, daughter of Edward Fortescue.
Lord Gardner was a keen huntsman, famous for his exploits with The Quorn. He appears in Sir Francis Grant's celebrated painting The Melton Breakfast and took part in one of The Quorn's most famous runs, on 4 March 1831, for which he is remembered in a poem by Bernal Osborne:
Gardner, who then for raspers ne'er would swerve,
And thought all riding to consist in nerve,
And swimming rivers, owned the pace was good,
But still would have it faster if he could.
Lord Gardner was one of Ferneley's most consistent patrons, commissioning twenty three paintings between 1830 and 1857, including a portrait of himself on his bay hunter Fitzorville with The Quorn at covert beyond (by descent in the family until 1971). The present painting is recorded in Ferneley's Account Book in March 1850 (no.614). It is likely that the figure leaning against a gate in the background is Lord Gardner himself.