Orphaned at age seven, educated at a school for tradesmen's children,
and apprenticed to an Edinburgh jeweler at age sixteen, the Scottish painter
Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) became a major figure and lasting influence
during the period of the Scottish Enlightenment. It was Scotland's Golden
Age, a time of intense intellectual and cultural development that lasted for
a generation, from about 1790 to 1820. Among its other lights were Robert
Burns and Sir Walter Scott in literature, David Hume and Adam Smith in philosophy
and economics, James Watt and John Rennie in science, and Allan Ramsey, along
with Raeburn, in the visual arts. Influenced perhaps by his apprentice training
as a miniaturist, Raeburn's chosen art was the art of the portrait. He left
more than a thousand. Many document the intellectual, business, and social
leaders of the day, but a large number are also devoted to "ordinary people."
Among his best and most loved are his portraits of children (JAMA cover,
November 15, 2000).
Southgate MT. The Allen Brothers (James and John Lee Allen). JAMA. 2004;291(3):280. doi:10.1001/jama.291.3.280