A judge, architect, antiquary and composer of baroque music, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik was one of the most talented men of his generation. He studied law in Glasgow and Holland, but to his father’s dismay often neglected his legal studies in favour of music. After a grand tour of Europe, Clerk returned to Scotland in 1700 where he became an advocate and an MP for Whithorn. He was one of the Scottish commissioners who negotiated the Treaty of Union and sat in the new Parliament of Great Britain in 1707. Clerk retired from politics the following year to rekindle his legal career and after inheriting his father’s estate in 1722 he devoted more and more time to cultured activities.