Thomas Bruce of Langlee, near Jedburgh, was an acquaintance and neighbour of the author Sir Walter Scott, who lived nearby in the Scottish Borders. In 1810, Bruce was made a Writer to the Signet; a privileged judicial position in Scotland. He was appointed to the post of Depute Clerk of Session in 1824, a job that his father had previously held. Bruce joined the Berwickshire yeomanry in 1811 as a commissioned officer, serving first as lieutenant and later as captain. This small ‘cabinet’ portrait, measuring only about 20 by 15 inches, is possibly a sketch for a larger work. It is attributed to Sir Watson-Gordon, a highly-regarded portrait painter who painted most of the Scottish celebrities of his time, including Scott himself.