George Jamesone: Scotland's First Portrait Painter

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George Jamesone (1589/90-1644) is a key figure in the development of portrait painting in Scotland.  He was the first great native-born artist in a profession dominated by foreigners.

Born in Aberdeen, Jamesone served his apprenticeship in Edinburgh as a painter of decorative interiors before returning to his native city and setting up a studio.  In Aberdeen and Edinburgh Jamesone painted people from various walks of life: aristocrats, academics, lawyers and merchants.  Jamesone also completed major commissions, including an entire series of portraits of friends and family for his important patron Sir Colin Campbell, and a set of Scottish monarchs, painted for Charles I’s official entry into Edinburgh in 1633.

Jamesone’s success as a portrait painter made him wealthy – he bought houses and estates and planted a pleasure garden to the west of Aberdeen.  When Jamesone died in 1644 he was widely mourned. The poet David Wedderburn wrote a Latin lament which emphasised his social and cultural achievements, describing the artist as ‘that most illustrious gentleman, George Jamesone of Aberdeen, the eminent painter’.

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Second floor

  • Gallery 2
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  • Gallery 1
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Portrait Second floor

Gallery

George Jamesone, 1589 / 1590 - 1644. Portrait painter (Self-portrait) George Jamesone

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Anne Erskine, Countess of Rothes, d. 1640. Wife of the 6th Earl of Rothes. (With her daughters, Lady Margaret Leslie, 1621 - 1688 and Lady Mary Leslie, b. 1620) George Jamesone

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George Jamesone, 1589/1590-1644. Portrait painter (Self-portrait) George Jamesone

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Lady Mary Erskine, Countess Marischal (born about 1597) George Jamesone

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The Campbell of Glenorchy Family Tree George Jamesone

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Sir Archibald Acheson, d. 1634. Secretary of State George Jamesone

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William Graham, 7th Earl of Menteith and 1st Earl of Airth, 1589 - 1661. President of the Privy Council George Jamesone

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Sir Archibald Napier, 1st Lord Napier, 1576 - 1645. Extraordinary Lord of Session George Jamesone

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William Keith, 7th Earl Marischal, 1614 - 1661. Leader of the Covenanters George Jamesone

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