Blackwood was Scotland’s most successful publisher in the early nineteenth century. He was born in Edinburgh and at the age of fourteen began a six year apprenticeship to the booksellers Bell & Bradfute. Following further training in Glasgow and London, he opened his first shop on Edinburgh. Specialising in selling rare books the business was a success. In 1813 Blackwood became the agent for the printers of Sir Walter Scott’s novels. Four years later he founded the ‘Edinburgh Monthly Magazine’ as a Tory counterpart to the ‘Edinburgh Review’, which had Whig leanings. As editor from the seventh issue onwards the magazine became knows as ‘Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine’. This elegant portrait was painted by William Allan who was a good friend of Scott and painted subjects from his novels.