Professor Adam Ferguson [Adhamh MacFhearghais], 1723 - 1816. Philosopher and author 1781/82


  • Scottish Art
Ferguson is a major figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. A professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, his activities also included farming, diplomacy, mathematics and the church (as an army chaplain). This portrait was hanging in Ferguson's house in Edinburgh when the young Walter Scott and the poet Robert Burns were entertained there in the winter of 1786, the only time the two great writers ever met.

Glossary Open


A philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasised the use of reason to question established beliefs and traditions. Associated ideas included a greater sense of individualism, a belief in human progress and an equation of God with the laws of nature.



  • Acc. No. PG 2890
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 29.88 x 25.00 in.; 75.90 x 63.50 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1992