About this artwork

The Earl of Morton was both rich and learned; he was President of the Royal Society in London, a member of the Académie Française, and one of the first Trustees of the British Museum. This portrait was commissioned for the family's new house at Dalmahoy, not far from Edinburgh. The Earl is seen with his first wife, Agatha Halyburton, and their children. Sholto, aged seven, holds a bow and arrow, James, aged four, is still dressed in skirts, and three-year old Mary proudly displays her carved wooden doll. The eldest daughter, Frances, on the left, died shortly before the picture was completed, and baby George, on his mother's lap, did not survive childhood.

Jeremiah Davison

Jeremiah Davison

Born in London of Scottish parents, Davison worked in London as a portrait painter until 1736 when the Duke of Atholl encouraged him to settle in Edinburgh. The Atholl family remained his constant patrons and through them he received commissions from the Murrays and other Perthshire landowners. He moved back to London before his death.