A three-quarter length portrait showing Sir Gilbert Heathcote, British merchant, Governor of the Bank of England, and Lord Mayor of London. He is seated with his body angled slightly to the left and facing the artist. He is wearing a red robe.
Heathcote was born in 1652 into a family with links to Derbyshire lead mining. After becoming apprenticed in his early teens and living in Stockholm for a few years, he returned to London to become an independent merchant. He became Master of the Vintners’ Company by 1700, where he imported large quantities of wine and brandy. He also developed important trade routes with Stockholm, as well as with the West Indies.
As a prominent London merchant, Heathcote became a leading importer from Jamaica, and was involved in the slave trade. Particularly, he was involved in the selling of enslaved Africans to the Spanish colonies. He was Agent to the colony from 1692-1704.