According to information provided in 1931 by the New York art-dealing firm Scott & Fowles, the scholar William Roberts identified the sitter for this portrait as the Honorable Charles Francis Greville (1749–1809), second son of the first Earl of Warwick. Charles Greville apparently sat for Romney in 1781–82 and again in 1787, either of which would be possible dates for the present work (T. Humphry Ward and W. Roberts, Romney: A Biographical and Critical Essay, with a Catalogue Raisonné of His Works, London, 1904, vol. 2, pp. 65–66); however, this sitter is not he. Greville is the subject of an 1810 mezzotint by Henry Hoppner Meyer after Romney (Baetjer 2009, p. 126, fig. 92). As Kim Sloan noted in 1996, there is little resemblance to the sitter in the Museum’s portrait. Greville had deep-set eyes under thick brows, a slightly hooked, more pointed nose, and an intent expression. The sitter here is probably younger, with a broader, less angular face. Typically for Romney, especially in paintings of men in this rather standard format, the treatment of the arms is perfunctory.
[2010; adapted from Baetjer 2009]