The sitter was the eldest son of Sir William Williams, 2nd Bt., of Llanforda, near Oswestry, by his first wife, Jane, daughter and sole heir of Edward Thelwall of Plasyward, near Ruthin, Denbighshire. Through his mother, he inherited the estate of Sir John Wynn of Gwydir, and thereupon assumed the arms and the additional name of Wynn. His inheritance included the great estate of Wynnstay and through it Wynn became the largest landowner in Wales. He was one of the longest serving and most influential Jacobites in Parliament during the first half of the 18th Century and was a founding member of the Jacobite club, The Cycle, at Wrexham in 1723. He was Member of Parliament for Denbighshire from 1716 until his death. He was the head of all the Tory squires in North Wales and lost no opportunity to attack Walpole's government. When Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Scotland in 1745, Wynn was instrumental in attempting to canvas support for the rebellion and his complicity was revealed in Lord Lovat's trial. Although the government did not press for his impeachment, after this, Wynn took a much less active part in politics.
Hudson painted a series of portraits of Wynn who was one of his most important patrons. The series of portraits may be divided in to two main groups, corresponding either to Faber's mezzotint of circa 1734, in which Wynn is wearing an embroidered waistcoat and ornate frockcoat, holding his tricorn hat under his arm, or to J. Arberry's etching (1753) of Hudson's portrait of Wynn in a simple silk waistcoat and plain frockcoat holding his tricorn hat in his hand. The present picture is an example of the latter type and the presence of pentimenti in the drapery, suggests that it may be the prime portrait of this type.