William Charles Ross was a very successful miniature painter. His artistic talent was encouraged from an early age by his parents, both of whom were accomplished portrait painters. In 1814 Ross was apprenticed to Andrew Robertson and quickly learned to paint miniatures in the latter’s innovative, glossy style. In 1817 he set up his own studio in London and soon won the support of increasingly important patrons. His sitters included the prime minister and the queen’s uncle, and in 1837 Queen Victoria herself commissioned a portrait. She declared it ‘very like and very well painted’ and immediately appointed Ross as Miniature Painter to the Queen. This position gave him the opportunity to portray sitters from royal families throughout Europe. Ross was knighted in 1842.