This is one of six family portraits that Sir Walter Bagot, a Staffordshire gentleman, commissioned from Wright in 1675. It shows Sir Walter's mother-in-law, the wealthy widow Elizabeth Salesbury, with his son and heir Edward, who clutches a wooden horse, and his infant younger daughter. Mrs Salesbury's peaked hat forms the apex of Wright's composition, which echoes religious images of the Madonna and infant Christ with John the Baptist. Although trained in Scotland, the Roman Catholic Wright lived in Rome before returning to Britain in 1656. He was a contemporary and rival of Sir Peter Lely.