Nathaniel Hone was one of the most talented Irish portrait painters of his generation. Like many of his fellow countrymen, he moved to London as a young man, where the local market offered greater possibilities; he only occasionally returned to Ireland afterwards. Hone initially specialized in painting portrait miniatures but gave this up in the 1760s to concentrate on work on the scale of life and was a founder member of the Royal Academy. Alongside his fashionable portrait practice, he painted a number of intimate portraits of his family, to which he was devoted, and a number of self-portraits which are among his most celebrated works. This self-portrait, which would appear to date from circa 1747, is characteristic in its informality and sensitivity. A variant of this type is in the National Gallery of Ireland (see N. Figgis and B. Rooney, Irish Paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, I, 2001, pp.221-2, no. 1003, illustrated). Perhaps his best known self-portrait, datable to circa 1775, of horizontal format (30 x 47 1/2 in.), is also in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (NGI 886).