Blackwood was Scotland?s most successful publisher in the early nineteenth century. He was born in Edinburgh and at the age of fourteen began a six year apprenticeship to the booksellers Bell & Bradfute. Following further training in Glasgow and London, he opened his first shop on Edinburgh. Specialising in selling rare books the business was a success. In 1813 Blackwood became the agent for the printers of Sir Walter Scott?s novels. Four years later he founded the `Edinburgh Monthly Magazine? as a Tory counterpart to the `Edinburgh Review?, which had Whig leanings. As editor from the seventh issue onwards the magazine became knows as `Blackwood?s Edinburgh Magazine?. This elegant portrait was painted by William Allan who was a good friend of Scott and painted subjects from his novels.