The artist's pocket books refer to a portrait of a 'Mr Pelham', which may relate to the present painting. Sittings are recorded in 1757 - on 1, 10 and 15 January, on 12 and 19 February and on 12 March. There is also a note added for the week beginning 24 January, 'Send home Mr. and Mrs. Pelham', and a further note in March 1760 'To write out Mr. Pelham's bill'. Payment is noted in the ledger for 4 March 1764 (?) of £26 5s, and a further payment of the same amount is entered for 27 September 1766, together with a note 'Frame paid 3gns'.
In a letter dated 19 December 1972, the late Professor Sir Ellis Waterhouse dated the present painting to circa 1760. While noting that it might be associated with the recorded sittings of a Mr Pelham in 1757, he thought it was more likely that these referred to the portrait of Thomas Pelham, later Lord Chichester (private collection).