The History of Leith

August 14, 2004

Sir Henry Raeburn

Within the care of South Leith Church but not on show is a portrait of Robert Dickson (1787-1790) minister of South Leith Church by Sir Henry Raeburn and across the road at Trinity House hangs Raeburn’s famous painting of Admiral Duncan hero of Camperdown and next to it that of Captain Brown the master of Trinty House who sailed the Admiral’s flagship the “Venerable” throughout the bold manoeuvres of that stirring sea fight.

Sir Henry Raeburn

Faceing the Admirals portrait is the huge painting of Vasco de Gama passing the Cape of Good Hope which is truly huge.

Raeburn was born at Stockbridge Edinburgh in 1756 where his father owned a mill. At first apprenticed to a Goldsmith he changed to watercolours and then oil painting. He married in his 20’s and trained for two years in italy.

On his return he painted Sir Walter Scott, David Hume, James Boswell, Lord Melville and Cockburn. Elected to the Royal Academy in 1812 being knighted in 1822 and in the year of his death in 1823 he was appointed the King’s Limner and Painter for Scotland.

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