Thomson, who was born in Stornoway and brought up in Bayble (Point, Lewis), was the leading Gaelic poet of the second half of the twentieth century. As editor of the periodical ‘Gairm’ from 1952–2002 and professor of Celtic at Glasgow University from 1963–91, he did a great deal for the language. Thanks to Gairm Publications and the Gaelic Books Council (which he founded in 1968), he may be seen as the father of modern Gaelic publishing. This bust was a commission by the artist’s mother, the subject’s wife, to celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday. It was initially carved in plaster with the smooth surface created by painting the bust with a mixture of plaster and aluminium oxide white paint. This also sealed the surface in preparation for it being cast in bronze.