A fearless politician who engineered the act of uniting Ireland with England, FitzGibbon was the newly appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland (whose duties included that of chief judge) when Stuart painted his portrait. The crownlike upper portion of FitzGibbon's mace, or ceremonial staff, is seen on the table at the right. Propped against the table is a satin and velvet purse embroidered with the royal coat of arms. Worn around the neck like an apron, the purse held the official texts of FitzGibbon's speeches. At the time he painted this work, Stuart was living in Dublin, having spent a dozen years in London. In fact, his Irish patrons regarded him as a British painter. Stuart returned to his native America in 1793, where he remained the rest of his life.