Elizabeth was the wife of Daniel Cunyngham, a wealthy owner of extensive plantations on the island of St Kitts in the British West Indies. This portrait is one of Ramsay’s early works and was painted around 1740. It closely follows Sir Godfrey Kneller’s portrait of Margaret Cecil, Countess of Ranelagh which is in the Royal Collection. Kneller’s picture belonged to his well-known series of court ladies, known as the 'Hampton Court Beauties', which were painted in the mid-1690s. Kneller’s series was influential for subsequent portrait painters, who frequently copied his designs. In this painting, Allan honours his sitter by painting her in the guise of a reputed beauty.