Sir Walter Scott was a renowned poet and novelist who achieved major success during his lifetime. His interest in writing historical novels, and particularly those with Scottish themes such as ‘Waverley’, has had a major influence on the perception of Scotland. Scott famously organised King George IV’s 1822 visit to Edinburgh which helped to re-brand Scotland’s image and led to a revival of tartan and kilts. This work was painted at Abbotsford, Scott’s home in the borders, for Lady Ruthven (1789-1895). It depicts him the year before his death. Following a number of strokes, Scott appears distinctly older and more fatigued than in earlier portraits. Seated in his study, he is almost certainly writing the fourth series of ‘Tales of my Landlord’.