William Keith succeeded his brother John as 4th Earl of Kintore in 1758. He never married and on his death in 1761 no-one could prove a claim to his title, which resulted in the earldom lying dormant for seventeen years. The artist John Alexander visited Keith Hall in 1736 and probably painted William Keith at that time. In this portrait, Keith wears a great example of a fashionable knotted wig. The eighteenth century was the golden age of male wig wearing. The full-bottomed periwig, universally worn by the aristocracy during the second half of the seventeenth century, was now only used as formal wear by judges and clergymen. Wigs for daily use were increasingly cropped, while styles and materials – human, horse, goat or yak hair – continued to change with fashion and personal taste.