Francis Brinley (1690–1765) was born in England but moved to Newport, Rhode Island in 1710 at the request of his grandfather. He eventually settled in Boston, where he married Deborah Lyde, granddaughter of Nathaniel Byfield (24.109.87). In 1719, he inherited a substantial tract of land in Roxbury upon which he built the elaborate Datchet House residence. Smibert painted this portrait in Boston in May of 1729. The background, an early instance of landscape in American painting, represents a view of Boston from Brinley's country home. Smibert also painted a portrait of Brinley's wife (62.79.2).
Francis Brinley, Roxbury, Massachusetts, by 1790; his great-grandson, Edward L. Brinley, Philadelphia, by 1878; his daughter, Mrs. Henry Wharton, Philadelphia, by 1909–ca. 1924; her son, Henry Wharton, Philadelphia, 1926; his wife, Mrs. Henry Wharton, by 1949; with David Stockwell, Wilmington, by 1951; with James Graham and Sons, New York, by 1962