Edinburgh-born artist William Allan was apprenticed to a coach painter before studying at the city’s Trustees’ Academy. He continued his studies in London until 1805. That year he went to Russia and traveled widely in the region until he returned to Scotland in 1814. Allan settled in Edinburgh where he painted scenes inspired by his travels as well as subjects from Scottish history. In 1826 he became Master of the Trustees’ Academy and in 1838 was elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy. This large chalk drawing of Allan is by William Bewick, who visited Scotland in 1824 on a fund-raising mission. During his visit Bewick drew a series of portraits of important Scots including surgeon Robert Liston, writer Anne MacVicar and artist Alexander Nasmyth.