The Morgan family of Tredegar was a powerful family in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire from ancient times, being direct descendants of Rhys ap Gruffydd, King of South Wales. Tredegar, near Newport, was the seat of the main branch of the family. In the sixteenth century the family property passed to a junior branch, the Morgans of Machen. The eventual heiress of the Morgans of Machen married Sir Charles Gould, who afterwards changed his name to Morgan. Sir Charles Morgan Robinson Morgan (1792-1875), 1st Baron of Tredegar, was the latter's grandson. He married Rosamund Munday, daughter of General Godfrey Basil Mundy and Sarah Brydges Rodney in 1827. In the nineteenth century the family's fortunes were greatly increased as the result of the extraction of minerals from their extensive lands in the valleys and the development of the port of Newport.
The sitter was the Chairman of the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company, Chairman of the Alexandra Dock Company and President of the Royal Agricultural Society. He was also an avid breeder of short horn cattle. Tredegar House, the family seat in South Wales, had been built on a grand scale in the 1660s. After serving as Member of Parliament for Brecon, Lord Derby's government raised him to the peerage as Baron Tredegar in 1859. He was President of the Equitable Life Assurance Society from 1846-75.