During the 1830s, John Le Conte was employed in the workshop of the engraver Robert Scott before setting up his own engraving business in 1845. He is best known for his watercolours and engravings of the buildings of old Edinburgh. Le Conte was a prolific artist, and his work provides an important historical account of how Edinburgh looked in the middle of the nineteenth century, before many of its structures were demolished to make way for new buildings. His sketches of the city are characterised by his spontaneous technique, using light, quick brushstrokes, which convey the sense of bustling street life. Le Conte is now widely acknowledged as one of the most successful engravers in Scotland during the late nineteenth century.