Lawrence painted Londonderry, who was a close personal friend of the artist, on a number of occasions. The present work relates to a portrait that was exhibited at the Royal Academy of 1813, which has remained in the collection of the Londonderry family. The sitter is depicted in Hussar uniform and with only the Penisular War ribbon and medal which were awarded after the Battle of Talavera in 1809.
The inclusion in the present reduced-scale copy of the Ribbon and Star of the Order of the Bath indicates that it was painted shortly after the award of that honour in 1813. Furthermore, its quality and accuracy suggest that it was executed under the close direction of Sir Thomas Lawrence and that it may have been specifically intended to be used for engraving. The image was engraved in mezzotint by H. Meyer in 1814 and both the Star and Ribbon of the Bath are present.
The second son of the 1st Marquess of Londonderry, Charles William Stewart was a career soldier who served with distinction as Adjutant-General to the Duke of Wellington, 1809-1812. In 1810 he was promoted to the rank of Major-General and was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Bath in 1813. He was subsequently British Ambassador to Austria as well as British Plenipotentary to the Congress of Vienna. He also held the office of British Ambassador to St. Petersburg in 1835.