About this artwork

This fashionably dressed young sitter is Robert, Lord Bruce, the only child and heir of the Scottish nobleman Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin. As a boy Bruce received little formal education, but in his teens travelled to Europe becoming one of the first Scots to embark on the Grand Tour. By 1659 Bruce was an active royalist conspirator and was involved in plans for an uprising against the government, which led to his arrest. However following the Restoration his loyalty was recognised by Charles II and he was appointed to a number of prestigious posts at court and within parliament. Later he earned the confidence of James VII and II and bore the St Edward’s sceptre at his coronation in 1685.

Cornelius Johnson

Cornelius Johnson

Johnson was born in London, to German/Flemish migrant parents. His early life is undocumented with the first reference, after his baptism in 1593, to his arrival in London in 1619 from Amsterdam. The quality and style of his work suggests he was at least partly trained in the Netherlands. By the 1620s he had a studio in Blackfriars in London, where he painted high quality portraits of the gentry, merchants and courtiers. His work is characterised by his attention to detail, particularly in the depiction of costume and jewellery. In 1632 Johnson was appointed as ‘his Majesty’s servant in ye quality of Picture drawer’ to Charles I.