David Wilkie began his career by painting vivid portraits of the men and women of his native Fife together with humorous scenes recording incidents of village life. He settled in London in 1805 and rapidly established himself as one of the most innovative artists of the time. His pictures, which use facial expression, gesture and meticulous detail to tell a story, were hugely popular and were a major influence on the development of genre painting in Victorian Britain. This depiction of the young artist is by a fellow Scot, Wilkie’s contemporary and rival, Andrew Geddes. Wilkie is shown informally, wearing a damask dressing-gown and leather mules, and surrounded by some of his studio props.