Born in Paris, Nicolas de Largillière trained as an artist in Antwerp, where he showed a great admiration for the Flemish Masters. At the age of eighteen he moved to England, where he was apprenticed to Peter Lely at Windsor. His talent attracted the attention of King Charles II, but due to growing hostility towards Catholics, Largillière returned to Paris after four years. There, his lively and colourful style of painting made him a very successful portraitist. On his accession, King James VII and II apparently recalled Largillière to Britain and, although the latter refused the post of keeper of the royal collections, he did paint portraits of the king and queen. He returned to Paris in 1686, where he later painted several portraits of the exiled young Prince of Wales.