The son of an Angus farmer, James Edgar joined the 1715 Rising as clerk to John Hay of Cromlix. He was proud to have been 'among the first' who rallied to Mar's raising of the Jacobite standard at Braemar. After the failure of the 1715 Rising, he joined the exiled court and never returned to Scotland. From 1728 he was employed as the king’s private secretary, responsible for the huge volume of correspondence sent and received by James III. Unlike the aristocratic favourites - Mar, Murray, Hay - Edgar kept apart from the squabbles and power struggles within the aristocracy and served his king faithfully for over forty years. In this modest portrait, Edgar discretely indicates his loyalty by wearing a ring with a cameo profile of James III.