James Currie, 1756 - 1805. Physician and man of letters (About 1800 - 1805)
About this artwork
Physician and author James Currie spent the majority of his professional life in Liverpool where he also campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade. This watercolour portrait was painted in the last years of Currie’s life and captures his piercing blue eyes. Currie was born in Kirkpatrick Fleming in Dumfriesshire and went on to train as a physician in Edinburgh, but gained his degree from Glasgow. In 1780 he set up a practice in Liverpool and was based there for the rest of his life. He did much to improve public health and civic life in the city alongside his friend the art collector William Roscoe. Currie retained his connections with Scotland and after the death of the poet Robert Burns in 1796 he began to prepare an edition of Burn’s work accompanied by a biography, which was published in 1800.
- title: James Currie, 1756 - 1805. Physician and man of letters
- accession number: PG 3503
- artist: Horace HoneEnglish (1754 / 1756 - 1825)
- depicted: James Currie
- gallery: Scottish National Portrait Gallery(Print Room)
- object type: Work on paper
- subject: Burns Medicine and science
- materials: Watercolour on card
- date created: About 1800 - 1805
- measurements: 10.80 x 8.90 cm
- credit line: Purchased 2007
The son of the Irish painter Nathaniel Hone, Horace was born in London. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1770, and later established himself as a portrait miniaturist, exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy from 1772 to 1822. In 1782 he moved to Dublin where he had a successful practice, and, in 1795, he was made miniature painter to the Prince of Wales. His practice was badly affected by the 1800 Act of Union, which established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, as many of his fashionable patrons moved to London. Hone himself returned to the English capital in 1804, but suffered from mental instability for the rest of his life.