William Hay was a staunch Jacobite and lived for several years in Rome before entering the Austrian service. He was killed at the battle of Torgan in 1760. Whilst Hay was in Rome, Dupra painted this portrait as part of a small series depicting men closely associated with the exiled Jacobites. On the reverse of this canvas, and the others which relate, Dupra detailed the following information: `Done for Captain Hay at Rome 1739. A Scots Gentleman residing there having been involved in the misfortunes of the family of Stuart, and was a person esteemed by the British travelling there of whatever party.?