Sir Henry Raeburn

Robert Macqueen, Lord Braxfield, 1722 - 1799. Lord Justice-Clerk (About 1798)

About this artwork

Lord Braxfield was said to be the best lawyer in Scotland, an expert in intricate legal questions arising out of the 1745 Rising. His later fame owes more to his reputation as a 'hanging judge'. Reactionary in politics and a hard drinker, he was notorious for uttering such memorable phrases as 'Hang a thief when he's young, and he'll no steal when he's auld'. Raeburn painted Braxfield when he was dying, and little more than a shadow of the man described in his prime as being like 'a formidable blacksmith'.

Sir Henry Raeburn

Sir Henry Raeburn

Originally apprenticed to a goldsmith, Henry Raeburn showed enormous artistic talent as a young man. In 1784 he moved to London where he met the important portrait painter Joshua Reynolds. He spent some time in Italy but returned to Edinburgh in 1787 where he began painting portraits of the rich, famous and important people of his day. He was in constant demand and received many honours: in 1822 he was knighted when the King visited Edinburgh. Sir Henry Raeburn died a year later.