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.