Henry Raeburn


Portrait of Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch

Henry Raeburn was born in 1756 in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. He is considered one of Scotland's greatest portrait painters. He began his career as a goldsmith's apprentice and graduated from jewellery to portrait miniatures and then eventually oil painting.

He married a wealthy widow and travelled to Rome to study the great artists. When he returned to Edinburgh in 1787 he began a successful and long career as a portrait painter. In 1812 he was elected president of the Society of Artists in Edinburgh and in 1822, the same year he painted a portrait of Sir Walter Scott he was knighted by George IV.

The National Gallery of Scotland has a couple of his works on display including The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch (pictured). He operated in Edinburgh during the Enlightenment period and so he also painted David Hume, James Boswell and Henry Dundas. When he died in 1823 he was planning a portrait of George IV in a kilt. Raeburn painted over 700 portraits in his career and his work can be found on display at many art galleries around the world.