Moray-born Francis Grant trained as a lawyer at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, between 1684 and 1687. He returned to Scotland where he was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates and afterwards established a flourishing legal practice. In 1709 he was appointed Lord of Session – a judge in the Scottish Supreme Court – and took the title Lord Cullen. A devout Presbyterian and an outspoken unionist, Lord Cullen was also famous for his unclear and chaotic style of writing and pleading at the bar. This half-length portrait is one of John Smibert’s earliest surviving works. Lord Cullen wears the crimson robes and periwig of a Lord of Session. During the early 1700s, the fashion for periwigs reached its peak but by the 1750s only clergymen and judges continued to wear these long wigs.