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William Aikman

Scottish, 1682 - 1731

William Aikman was born in Cairnie, Forfar, Tayside, October 24, 1682 and died in London, June 4, 1731.

Having established himself as the leading portrait painter in Edinburgh, Aikman sought his fortune in the lucrative market of London. Aikman's early training with Sir John Baptist Medina was supplemented by three years in Rome studying the work of Baroque artists. He returned to his native Scotland in 1712, where his portrait practice flourished under the patronage of the nobility and gentry. Following the death of Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1723, Aikman settled in London where he gained the patronage of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, and Sir Robert Walpole. His influential friends included the poets Alexander Pope and Thomas Gray.