Hugh St. Quintin was the son of William St. Quintin (1632-1695) and Elizabeth (c.1635-1700), daughter of Sir William Strickland. He married Katherine Chitty in 1702, and his son William succeeded his uncle to the baronetcy in 1723, becoming High Sherriff of Yorkshire and Lord Mayor of London. Brought up at the family home of Muston in Yorkshire, Hugh’s brother Sir William St. Quintin purchased Scampston Hall in the 1690s, which then became the family seat for generations.
The facial characteristics of this present portrait betray a debt to Closterman who was a fashionable choice of artist particularly after he painted the Dukes of Marlborough and Somerset in the 1690s. Closterman along with Michael Dahl and Jonathan Richardson tended to adopt a brighter palette of colours and materials in their portraiture than the previous generation of Beale, Riley and Lely. This greatly influenced other artists of the period as in this example where the painter has favoured a capacious blue mantle and interestingly shows the sitter wearing his own, natural, hair long rather than sporting a fashionable wig. This point of style alone indicates that the picture can date really no later than the first decade of the 18th century.