Raeburn, Sir Henry
Scottish portrait painter, whose works are characterized by their "square touch" brushstroke style, dark backgrounds, and lack of preliminary drawing. Sir Henry Raeburn was born in Stockbridge, near Edinburgh. An orphan, he was apprenticed to a goldsmith and taught himself to paint, progressing from miniatures to full-size canvases. After marrying an affluent widow in 1780 he was able to devote himself fully to portrait painting. In 1787 Sir Henry Raeburn returned to Edinburgh from two years in Italy and soon gained recognition as a portraitist of the Scottish upper class. Raeburn's work shows the influence of the contemporary English portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, whom he met; Sir Henry Raeburn has been called the Scottish Joshua Reynolds. In 1815 Sir Henry Raeburn became a member of the Royal Academy; in 1822 he was knighted. Among his best-known oil paintings are The Rev. Robert Walker Skating (1784) and The McNab (1803-13), both in the National Gallery, Edinburgh, and Miss Eleanor Urquhart Raeburn (1795?, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.).
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