Colvin Smith probably painted this portrait shortly after he settled in Edinburgh in 1826. Henry Mackenzie was one of the leading literary figures of the day, best known for his novel, ‘The Man of Feeling’, published in 1771. His other novels, ‘The Man of the World’ and ‘Julia de Roubigne’ were also published in the 1770s. His romantic tragedy 'The Prince of Tunis' was first performed in Edinburgh in 1773. He was well-known in his day for managing the periodicals ‘The Mirror’ and ‘The Lounger’. Mackenzie was an early supporter of Sir Walter Scott. Scott wrote of him at the age of eighty: 'H.M. is as alert as a contracting tailor's needle in every sort of business, a politician and a sportsman, shoots and fishes in a sort even to this day, and is the life of the company with anecdote and fun'.