Mirza Abu'l Hassan Khan (1776-1845) was sent to the court of King George III in 1809 by the Shah of Persia, to help negotiate a treaty of alliance between Great Britain and Persia (Iran). He became a figure of fascination, and many parties were held in his honour. By this time Beechey was known as one of the foremost portrait painters of his day and painted two recorded portraits of this sitter. In his diplomatic diary Abu'l Hassan describes visiting Beechey's house in Harley Street and his joy at meeting his children. On arrival back in Persia in 1811, he was given the honorary title of Khan, in recognition of the role he had played in the treaty negotiations.
Sir William Beechey RA (1753-1839) Mirza Abu'l Hassan Khan 1809-10 © Compton Verney