After the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1792, Thomas Lawrence was appointed Painter in Ordinary to King George III. Drawing inspiration from Reynolds’s style, with its allusions to the old masters, Lawrence dominated society portraiture in England. He was knighted in 1815 and elected president of the Royal Academy in 1820. His accession to this office no doubt prompted his desire to own the original design by Giovanni Cipriani for the diploma awarded to new Royal Academicians. Cipriani’s drawing belonged to Richard Baker, who offered to give it to Lawrence. In return Lawrence volunteered to paint a portrait of Baker’s great-nephew, Frederick Hemming. Sittings for the portrait were underway when Baker died and Hemming inherited his collection. Lawrence also coveted Baker’s drawings by Raphael and offered Hemming a companion portrait of his fiancée, Mary Anne Bloxam, in exchange for them. Bloxam was reputedly an accomplished porcelain painter, and in her portrait holds a brush as if busy at work; she is depicted in a modish white Grecian dress.