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The Scottish Nation

JAMESONE, GEORGE, an eminent artist, justly termed the Vandyke of Scotland, and the first native Scots painter on record, was born at Aberdeen in 1586. He was the son of Andrew Jamesone, an architect or builder in that city, and Marjory, daughter of David Anderson, one of the magistrates. He studied at Antwerp, under rubens, with Vandyke; and on his return to Scotland in 1628 he applied himself to painting portraits in oil, occasionally practising also in history and landscape. When Charles I. Visited Scotland in 1633, the magistrates of Edinburgh employed Jamesone to make drawings of the Scottish monarchs. With these the king was so highly pleased, that he sat to him for a full-length picture, and rewarded him with a diamond ring from his finger. It is said that on account of a weakness in his eyes, his majesty allowed him the privilege of remaining covered in his presence, a circumstance which may account for his being represented with his hat on in all his portraits of himself. Jamesone died at his residence in Edinburgh, in 1644, aged 58, and was buried in the Greyfriars churchyard of that city. An engraving of his portrait, with a miniature of his wife in his hand, from a picture by himself, is inserted in Pinkerton’s Scottish Gallery, of which a woodcut is subjoined.

[portrait of George Jamesone]

      Portraits, painted by him, are preserved in different gentlemen’s houses in the north of Scotland, as well as in Marischal and King’s colleges; and the hall of the latter is adorned by one of his pictures called the Sibyls, supposed to be portraits of ten of the chief beauties of Aberdeen. The largest collection of Jamesone’s works is at Taymouth castle, Perthshire, the seat of the marquis of Breadalbane, his lordship’s ancestors having been one of his chief patrons. A curious genealogical tree of the house of Glenorchy, painted by Jamesone in 1635, is described by Pennant in his Tour. Some account of his works is contained in the valuable ‘Anecdotes of Painting in England.’ This distinguished artist married, March 12, 1624, Isabel Tosh, by whom he had a large family, but three daughters only survived him. Of these, Mary, who was thrice married, and had for her second husband James Gregory, the mathematician, excelled in skilful sewing, and executed an extensive piece of tapestry, which was hung from the gallery of the West church in Aberdeen. Alexander, one of his scholars, married another daughter, and Cosmo Alexander his son, engraved a portrait of his grandfather in 1728.

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