After studying law in London, Laurens returned to become an aide to George Washington in 1777. He was taken prisoner in Charleston in 1780, but was later exchanged. He served as Special Minister to the court of Versailles for six months, and then took part in the siege of Yorktown. He was killed in a skirmish with British troops on the Combahee River. As Laurens died the year Fraser was born, this obviously is a copy after an earlier profile. It may have been a design for a commemorative monument or an exercise by the young artist who greatly admired Revolutionary era patriots. Fraser did a similar pen and ink study of General William Moultrie in 1802, and might have done the Laurens portrait at the same time. Throughout his lifetime Fraser held a special devotion for American patriots, and included them among his portraits, sketches in various sketchbooks, and in his "Reminiscences of Charleston."