Alexander Spotswood was born in Tangier. He fought under the Duke of Marlborough in the War of Spanish Succession. He was Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (1710-1722) before settling at Germanna in Spotsylvania County in 1729. He married Anne Butler Brayne while in England in 1724. This portrait descended in the Spotswood family through a grandson along with those of his wife and brother. It was recorded at the grandson’s home at Nottingham plantation fairly early in the nineteenth century. Another version of this portrait attributed to Charles Bridges descended in the Moore family through his daughter. It is unclear what the relationship is between the two portraits. It is possible that one is a contemporary copy of another. It is also possible that this is an early nineteenth-century copy after the Bridges portrait.
The subject wears a dark red jacket over a yellow waistcoat with elaborate gold-embroidered trim and gold buttons. He wears a gray wig and stands with his right hand on his hip and his left hand holding a rolled up piece of paper revealing military or architectural plans. A dress sword is on his left hip. He is turned three quarters to his left. In the distances is a view of a fortress.