John Kay began his career as a barber-surgeon before turning his hand to producing etched caricatures of his contemporaries. This self-taught artist's prolific output created an unmatched record of the citizens of Scotland's capital. Kay's simple, often humorous, portrayals provide a satirical commentary on Edinburgh society for which he was sometimes threatened with legal action. They offer a telling comparison to the grander images painted by established portrait painters. Kay sold his prints and miniature paintings from a shop at 10 Parliament Close. Within twelve years of his death his caricatures were published in a two-volume book, 'A series of original portraits and caricature etchings by the late John Kay', with a second edition following four years later.