John Baptiste de Medina was born in Brussels, the son of a Spanish army captain. He trained with the Flemish portrait painter, Francois Duchatel and moved to London to set up a portrait practice in about 1686. Moderately successful, he employed several assistants in his Drury Lane studio. He counted several members of the Scottish aristocracy amongst his clients and in 1694 he was persuaded to visit Edinburgh to paint their wives and families. With virtually no competition in Scotland, Medina decided to settle. With his distinctive, informal baroque manner, he captured a generation of Scottish society and was knighted in 1706 by the last Scottish parliament before the Act of Union.