This beautifully balanced work is the portrait of two very important children. Their father was a leading politician, Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester (1642-1711), who is presumed to have commissioned the work (for Hyde, see Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, vol. 29, pp.146-52). Hyde’s late sister Anne had been the wife of James, Duke of York, who in 1685 succeeded to the British throne as James II. Thus the sitters were nieces of the King. By 1705-10, this painting was in the possession of the sitters’ cousin, king James’s daughter, Queen Anne, and on display at Windsor Castle.