John Smibert's Boston portraits were often plain in composition and color, and stiff in expression (like this work). Nevertheless, for a time he was the most experienced and influential artist in New England. The Scottish-born Smibert had trained in London and traveled through Europe before settling in Boston. His studio and "colour shop" (art-supply store) contained his copies after important European works of art. Such images were crucial in inspiring and instructing early colonial artists, who had little access to art instruction and no museum collections at their disposal.