The artist has made no attempt to disguise the squint which earned the sitter the Gaelic nickname 'Gillespie Gruamach' and gave him a somewhat sinister appearance. His own father described him as 'a man of craft, subtlety and falsehood'. Argyll became the leader of the Covenanting party and supported Charles I's parliamentary enemies. However, he opposed the execution of the king and it was he who crowned the young Charles II at Scone in 1651. He continued to shift allegiances throughout the Commonwealth period and, when Charles II was restored in 1660, he was arrested, charged with treason, and executed the following year in Edinburgh.