About this artwork

Thomas Ruddiman was a Scottish publisher and classical scholar. Born in Banffshire, he received a classical education at King’s College, Aberdeen and worked as a schoolmaster in Laurencekirk before moving to Edinburgh in 1700. He started out as a library assistant, but soon became associated with Edinburgh printer and bookseller Robert Freebairn. By 1712 Ruddiman and his brother Walter had established their own printing business. They specialised in school books and their most celebrated title was Ruddiman’s own ‘Rudiments of the Latin Tongue’, first published by Freebairn but subsequently ‘printed and sold by the author’. From 1724 onwards Ruddiman printed the newspaper ‘The Caledonian Mercury’, a platform for moderate Jacobitism that supported Prince Charles Edward's cause in 1745.

William Denune

William Denune

William Denune was working as a portrait painter in Edinburgh from 1729, when he was a signatory of the Charter of the Academy of St Luke, the city's first art school. He operated studios in both Edinburgh and Dumfries, producing portraits for clients ranging from middle-class merchants and professionals to the Duke of Hamilton, whose portrait he painted in 1746. Influenced by the work of Allan Ramsay, Denune's portraits have a solid, straightforward quality.