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George Watson

1767 - 1837

Portrait painter. Born near Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders, Watson trained in Edinburgh with Alexander Nasmyth (1758 - 1840) and in the studio of Joshua Reynolds in London. He returned to Edinburgh in 1787 and established himself as a successful painter of portraits of the landed gentry and minor nobility. Although he painted more than 100 works, many remain unrecorded in private hands. Some of his works are held by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Watson was a founder of the Scottish Academy in 1826 and was elected its first President. He was said to be second only to Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 - 1823) as a portrait painter at the time. He died in Edinburgh.

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