The sitter was a Doctor of Divinity and Rector at St Erme, near Truro, in Cornwall, who lived at Trehane Barton, near the village of Probus. The son of John Stackhouse (d. 1734), rector of Boldon, in County Durham, and a younger brother of the theologian, Thomas Stackhouse (1677-1752). In October 1738 he married Catherine Courtenay, a descendant of the Earls of Devon. Their second son, John Stackhouse (1742-1819), was an influential botanist and classical scholar who built Acton Castle, near Penzance.
Martin Postle has suggested a date for the painting of circa 1766-67. Both stylistically and in terms of the interior furnishing the picture can be compared to Zoffany's portrait of Richard Dalton, with his wife and their niece Mary (Tate Britain, London).
Commissioned by the sitter;
By descent in the family of the sitter