Joseph Patrick Haverty came from Galway, and although not much is known of his education, he travelled a great deal during the early part of his career and exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. He became one of the earliest associates of the Royal Hiberian Academy, becoming a full Academician in 1829.
This large scale family portrait is thought to be of the Reilly family of Scavargh. John Lushington Reilly was an artist himself and according to the Reilly family he had noticed Haverty's talent early, when he was still a boy in Galway, and had helped with his education. Haverty is known to have based a pair of acquatints of George IV processing down Sackville Street in Dublin and his departure from Kingstown on drawings made on the spot in 1821 by Reilly. This portrait can be compared to Haverty's group portrait of the Reilly family standing before Scarvagh House, Co. Down (for which see A. Crookshank and The Knight of Glin, The Painters of Ireland c. 1660-1920, London, 1978, p. 216, pl. 215). Crookshank and the Knight of Glin have suggested that the landscape in the background shows Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains (Crookshank and Glin, op.cit., p.226). Haverty's group portraits are among his most charming works.