The sitter was born on 17 May 1768, the eldest son of the Earl of Uxbridge (d.1812). Educated at Westminster and Christ Church College, Oxford, he entered Parliament in 1790 as Member for the Caernarvon boroughs which he represented until 1796 and then as member for Milborne Port in 1796, 1802-4, 1806 and 1807-10. He served in the Staffordshire militia, which was commanded by his father and in 1793 he raised a regiment of infantry from his father's tenantry. In 1794 he, along with his regiment, joined the army fighting the French in Flanders, under the Duke of York. He was made Colonel on 3 May 1796, and Lieutenant-Colonel of the 7th Light Dragoons on 6 April 1797. He was promoted to Major-General in 1802 and Lieutenant-General in 1808. He distinguished himself as a cavalry officer whilst serving in Spain, Sir John Moore writing of the cavalry in 1808 'our cavalry is very superior in quality to any the French have, and the right spirit has been infused into them by the example and instruction of their two leaders, Lord Paget and Brigadier-general Stewart.'
He was recalled to the army in 1815 to fight in the Battle of Waterloo and appointed to command the whole of the cavalry and horse artillery under the Duke of Wellington. During the battle he was wounded in the knee by a canon ball and lost a leg. He was created Marquess of Anglesey on 4 July 1815 in recognition of his services. He received the Order of the Garter in 1818. In the Duke of Wellington's administration he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland and on the question of Catholic emancipation replied to the King 'I will not be considered either protestant or catholic; I go to Ireland determined to act impartially between them, and without the least bias either one way or the other.' However his relationship with Wellington became increasingly strained and he was recalled from Ireland by the end of the year only to be reappointed by Lord Grey in 1830. He was made Field-Marshal on 9 November 1849. He died at the age of 86 and is buried in the family vault at Lichfield Cathedral.
Roberts (op. cit. pp. 245, 250, 255) lists four portraits of Paget painted between 1817 and 1822.