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Henry Raeburn

British, 1756-1823

Sir Henry Raeburn was born in Stockbridge, March 4, 1756 and died in Edinburgh, July 8, 1823.

Orphaned at the age of six, Raeburn was apprenticed to an Edinburgh goldsmith from 1772-78, where he apparently learned to draw and paint in watercolors while executing jewelry designs and perhaps portrait miniatures. He painted his first full-length oil in 1776. After marrying wealthy widow Ann Leslie in 1780, he was able to pursue a painting career. In 1784 he spent two months as a pupil in Joshua Reynolds's London studio before journeying on to Italy, where he studied painting and sculpture. In 1786 he returned to Scotland via Paris. Raeburn lived and worked in Edinburgh and most of his clients were fellow Scots, but he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and was elected an Academician in 1815. He was knighted by George IV in the summer of 1822, while the king was touring Scotland.