About this artwork

A liberal minded lawyer and writer Henry Cockburn established himself as one of the most distinguished of Edinburgh advocates. In 1830 he was appointed Solicitor-General for Scotland and in this capacity assisted in the drafting of the the first Scottish Reform Act of 1832. In 1834 he was raised to the Bench and took his seat as a Judge in the Court of Session. His Memorials of his Time, published posthumously in 1856, brings vividly to life the personalities and politics of early Victorian Scotland.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Henry Thomas, Lord Cockburn, 1779 - 1854. Judge and author
  • date created:
    About 1835
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    240.60 x 148.60 cm; Framed: 290.20 x 198.50 x 19.00 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Given by the Royal Scottish Academy 1910
  • accession number:
    PG 709
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
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Sir John Watson Gordon

Sir John Watson Gordon

John Watson Gordon was training to become an army engineer when, encouraged by his uncle, the painter, George Watson, and Raeburn, who was a family friend, he decided to become an artist. His first works were subject pictures but, after Raeburn's death in 1823, he established himself as the leading portrait painter in Scotland. His style was at first closely based on Raeburn but was later more influenced by his admiration for Velázquez. In 1850 he was elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy, appointed Queen's Limner for Scotland and knighted.