Copley's portrait shows Anne Erving, the daughter of the Hon. John Erving, a Scot born in Kirkwall in the Orkneys who had emigrated to America in 1706. Erving, as governor of Boston and one of His Majesty's Council for the Province, was a prominent citizen in colonial North America. The portrait was probably painted in Boston to mark the occasion of Anne's marriage to Duncan Stewart of Ardsheal in January 1767. A family story relates how, during the American War of Independence, Anne stole the keys of the city prison from under her father's pillow so that her husband could liberate two Scottish prisoners. The couple eventually moved to Ardsheal in Argyll and Anne died in Edinburgh.