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Francis Horner, 1778 - 1817. Political economist

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Francis Horner, 1778 - 1817. Political economist

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
Francis Horner trained as a lawyer but his real interests were politics and economics. With his contemporaries Henry Brougham, Francis Jeffrey and Sydney Smith, he founded a quarterly magazine, the Edinburgh Review, for which he wrote many articles on subjects such as currency and trade. In 1806 he was elected to the House of Commons as MP for St Ives. Liberal in outlook and a member of the whig circles around Lord Holland, Horne opposed the Corn Laws, championed Catholic emancipation and urged the abolition of the slave trade. His brother, Leonard, a geologist, commissioned a portrait of him by Raeburn in 1812 which is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London. This is a smaller, later, version by the artist.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.

Corn Laws

Various statutes were implemented after the end of the Napoleonic Wars to protect English farmers from cheap imports of grain. This kept the price of corn at a high level benefiting rich landowners but in turn damaged the economy and caused hardship among the working classes.

Edinburgh Review

Founded in 1802, the Edinburgh Review was a literary criticism magazine, published quarterly.


British reforming party in late 17th to mid 19th century that were eventually succeeded by the Liberal Party.

Commission, Corn Laws, Edinburgh Review, Whig


  • Acc. No. PG 253
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 76.20 x 63.50 cm (framed: 94.70 x 82.40 x 7.40 cm)
  • Credit Lady Murray Bequest to the National Gallery of Scotland; transferred 1889