The advocate and writer Henry Erskine had one of the most brilliant legal minds of his day. He became Lord Advocate in 1783 and Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in 1785. He was in favour of constitutional reform and opposed the 'sedition' and 'treason' bills introduced by the government in 1795. This unusual high-relief portrait was made after Erskine's death. The youthful, sensitive face, with the lips just parted to reveal the sitter's teeth, is full of animation and brings to mind a comment made by one of Erskine's contempories: 'Nothing was so sour as not to be sweetened by the glance, the voice, the gaiety, the beauty of Henry Erskine'.