Arthur Devis was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1712. He reputedly studied under the celebrated Flemish painter, Peter Tillemans, who was working in England between 1708 and 1734, and whose technique in the painting of interiors and of small, neatly finished portraits is similar to Devis’. By 1742, Devis had set up a studio in Great Queen Street, London, a prospering artists’ community. He eventually retired to Brighton in 1781 and died there in 1787. His conversation pieces and portraits, commissioned by a clientele consisting of nobility and landed gentry, are exceptional for their verisimilitude of detail and painstaking rendering of texture.