About this artwork

John Sakeouse, dressed in thick oil skins, is shown holding a harpoon. He arrived in the port of Leith, having stowed away on board the 'Thomas and Ann'. He used the harbour to demonstrate his prowess with a harpoon, which was widely acclaimed. Nasmyth painted this small portrait in 1814, capturing not only his appearance but something of his strength of character. Sakeouse also took drawing lessons from Nasmyth. Sakeouse joined the arctic explorer, Captain John Ross, on his expedition in search of the North West Passage. He visited London before returning to Leith where he died of typhoid.

Alexander Nasmyth

Alexander Nasmyth