Thomas Frye was born in Dublin, and it is thought that he came from the Fry family of Ebenderry, Co. Offaly. Little is know of his early training although Anne Crookshank and the Knight of Glin have noted that 'his early work seems to have the silvery echoes of James Latham' (A. Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, Dictionary of Irish Painters c.1660-1920, London, 1978, p. 51). Like many Irish artists of his generation, he left Ireland for London when still a young man, no doubt encouraged by the broader market for his talents in the metropolis. He was certainly in London by 1736 when he was commissioned to paint a formal state portrait of Frederick Prince of Wales for the Hall of the Saddlers in Cheapside, now destroyed and known though mezzotint. Aside from his portraiture, Frye is also well known for his involvement in porcelain manufacture and most of his oil portraits predate his management of the Bow porcelain factory in which he was to invest so much of his energy from 1744.
This picture exhibits many of the qualities that made Frye's work fashionable among a broad base of patrons. In particular the refined handling of the drapery is characteristic of his art.