By the time he was 26 years old, Francis Grant had spent his father’s inheritance of £10,000 on fox hunting and collecting paintings, and was in desperate need of a career. He decided to become an artist, and, despite having no formal training, he made rapid progress by copying old masterpieces lent to him by friends and family. At the time, it was remarkable and somewhat scandalous for a member of a landed family to become a professional portrait painter. His background did, however, give Grant easy access to fashionable Victorian society and portrait commissions. Although still a great lover of hunting, Grant’s success was huge and his output prolific: between 1831 and his death in 1878, approximately 800 paintings are recorded.