Robert Cunningham Graham, a poet and politician, was described by Robert Burns as the 'noblest instance of great talents, great fortune and great worth that ever I saw'. After university he travelled to Jamaica where he worked as a receiver-general of taxes and was a landowner and planter. Later, he was Member of Parliament for Stirlingshire, professing radical political views (despite having made a fortune from slave plantations) and supporting the French Revolution. Raeburn’s sympathetic portrait shows a contemplative Graham, surrounded by books, letters and writing equipment. Painted in the last years of Graham’s life, it reminds the viewer of his literary output, such as his popular romantic poem ‘If doughty deeds my lady please’, which was greatly admired by Burns.