About this artwork

Mother and son embrace each other lovingly in this double portrait. Lady Nairne was born at Gask House near Perth. She was not only a devoted mother but also a gifted songwriter, writing under the name 'Mrs Bogan of Bogan'. She successfully adapted traditional Scottish airs and many of her songs make clear her Jacobite sympathies, for example, 'Charlie is my darling' and 'Will ye no come back again' . She was an early admirer of Robert Burns. Her only child, William, never enjoyed good health and, despite prolonged stays abroad in warmer climates, he died at the age of twenty-nine in Brussels.

Updated before 2020

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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.