Leading history painter John Trumbull introduced art patron Daniel Wadsworth (1771–1848) to emerging artists of the day—including Thomas Sully, whom Wadsworth invited to paint this portrait. The sitter dons buff leather gloves with red stitching, characteristic of those worn when traveling. Wadsworth was a romantic traveler and amateur artist in his own right, who searched for beautiful scenes to sketch. Later Wadsworth founded the Wadsworth Atheneum, which opened in 1844, and left most of the major works in his collection to it. Sully was to become the leading portrait painter in Philadelphia.