About this artwork

This serene skater is thought to be the Reverend Robert Walker, minister of the Canongate Kirk and a member of the Edinburgh Skating Society. The club - the oldest of its kind in Britain - usually met on the frozen lochs of Duddingston or Lochend on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Walker's pose, as he glides across the ice, looks effortless, but would have been recognised by fellow skaters as a difficult and sophisticated manoeuvre. This small picture, showing a figure in action, is quite unlike other known portraits by Raeburn.

see more information

Sir Henry Raeburn

Sir Henry Raeburn

Originally apprenticed to a goldsmith, Henry Raeburn showed enormous artistic talent as a young man. In 1784 he moved to London where he met the important portrait painter Joshua Reynolds. He spent some time in Italy but returned to Edinburgh in 1787 where he began painting portraits of the rich, famous and important people of his day. He was in constant demand and received many honours: in 1822 he was knighted when the King visited Edinburgh. Sir Henry Raeburn died a year later.