Glasgow-born (Herbert) James Gunn briefly studied art at Glasgow and Edinburgh before moving to the Académie Julian in Paris in 1911. Whilst in Paris, Gunn met the artist of this portrait, William Hutchison, who was to be a friend for life. After serving with the 10th Scottish Rifles in the First World War, Gunn returned to Scotland where he married twice within a decade. His second wife, Pauline Miller, became a model for some of his best-known paintings. In 1929 Gunn decided to devote himself to portraiture and soon established a prolific and successful career. His portraits are sometimes sombre but always carefully painted, with close attention to detail. His distinguished sitters include Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and the Queen Mother.