Alexander Blaikley was a painter of portraits and figures, as well as an accomplished silhouettist. Originally from Ulster, his parents moved to Glasgow where his mother ran a workshop for putting embroideries on to muslin. As a small boy, Blaikley was given the task of cutting surplus muslin. He became very skilful with scissors and later used this skill to create cut-out silhouette portraits. After the death of his first wife, Blaikley moved to London where in 1842 he remarried and settled permanently. Specialising in portraits and landscapes, Blaikley’s commissions included portraits of the Prussian Royal family and the Duke and Duchess of Montrose. Also well-known is his depiction of the famous physicist Michael Faraday lecturing at the Royal Institution in 1855.