Bruce was a gentleman architect, credited with introducing the classical style to Scotland. He was born at Blairhall in Fife. Bruce is best known for his work on Edinburgh's Holyroodhouse from 1671, transforming it into a baroque palace for Charles II. He also designed a splendid house at Kinross for his own family and Hopetoun House just west of Queensferry. Bruce is shown wearing an elegant striped dressing gown, gesturing with his porte crayon at the drawing in his left hand.