The present work is an autograph version of the painting in the Tate Gallery, London, Inv. no. 182. Known, and at times criticized, for his adaptation of compositions by the Old Masters including Michaelangelo, Raphael, and van Dyck, in the present work Reynolds again draws on an engraved composition after Carlo Maratta of the Infant Christ adored by Angels in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh (Inv. no. 84a). He used this first as an inspirational source for the child in his Infant Jupiter now in the British Museum, London, exhibited at the Academy in 1774. The depiction of Miss Gordon as Heads of Angels, which draws from the cherubs in Maratta's work, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1787, no. 24.
Miss Frances Isabel Ker Gordon (1782-1831) was the daughter of Lord William Gordon, second son of Cosmo George, 3rd Duke of Gordon. His wife was the Hon. Frances Ingram-Shepherd, daughter of Charles Ingram, 10th Lord Irvine.