This portrait of John FitzGibbon was painted by Stuart during his Dublin period. To refresh your memory our Gibby had been invited to Dublin in 1787 for a commission; he thought this invitation in fact a good idea in order to escape mounting debts in London. However he did not escape this cycle of pernicious debt even after taking partial payments at the first sittings. It was during this time that he was sent to Debtor’s prison where he raised eyebrows by continuing to paint the rich and mighty who visited him there. When he left Dublin in 1793, hoping to finally make his fortune painting Washington, Stuart left a number of canvases unfinished (and dreams dashed?), remarking, "The artists of Dublin will get employed in finishing them."
However, Stuart did manage to paint this portrait of the newly appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland, “a position of supremacy that FitzGibbon took to mean the deployment of high intelligence, vitriolic arrogance, and a reinvigorated desire to accumulate the lavish trappings of status.” (Barratt & Miles p 79) The very definition of a BIGWIG !
The haughty chancellor, draped in his majestic robes, peers out from beneath his incredibly huge wig.
Note the background accents which Stuart also preserved for his later, more moderate portraits (ie Meeker), the reddish-toned drapery, blue skies with clouds.