Louis Gauffier was one of many French artists who fled Rome in 1793 in order to escape Roman reprisals following the execution of Louis XVI in France. Arriving in Florence, Gauffier the history painter adopted a portrait genre based on the flourishing market for commemorative likenesses of aristocrats set in characteristic landscapes of the region. Thomas Penrose (1769-1851) was neither an artist (as the sketchbook he holds suggests), nor an aristocrat. However, the sitter had diplomatic ambitions and, at the time of this portrait, was serving as secretary to the English envoy to the Duke of Tuscany. With a high degree of finish, Gauffier depicts Penrose above Florence on an upper terrace of the Boboli gardens.