Jameson, George

, an eminent artist, the Vandyck of Scotland, was born in Aberdeen in 1586. At what age he went abroad is not known, but he studied under Rubens, with Vandyck, and returned to Scotland in 1628. After his return, he applied with indefatigable industry to portrait in oil, though he sometimes practised in history and landscape. His largest portraits were generally somewhat less than life. His excellence is said to consist in delicacy and softness, with a clear and beautiful colouring. When king Charles I. visited Scotland in 1633, the magistrates, knowing his majesty’s taste, employed Jameson to make drawings of the Scotish monarchs, with which the king was so much pleased, that he sat to him for a full length picture, presented him with a diamond ring from his finger, and on account of a complaint in his eyes or head, the king made him wear his hat, a privilege which he ever after used, and commemorated by always drawing himself with his hat on. So far also he imitated his master Rubens.

Many of the considerable families in Scotland are possessed of works by this great artist. The greatest collection is that at Taymouth, the seat of the earl of | Breadalbane, Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy, his lordship’s ancestor, having been the chief and earliest patron of Jameson, who had attended that gentleman in his travels. In different gentlemen’s houses in the county of Aberdeen, there are portraits by Jameson, as well as in the halls of Marischal and King’s colleges. The most interesting of his pictures is that belonging to the earl of Findlater, at Cullen-house. This piece represents Jameson himself, as large as life, with a round hat on his head. He is looking you in the face, with his left hand, in which is his pallet, on a table, and his right over it, the forefinger of which points to several small pictures in the back ground. Dress, a black jacket with a white falling band. In the back ground are ten squares, of about six inches, representing portraits, some of them full lengths; some of the squares have two or three figures, and one of them is a sea-piece. Size of the picture, within the frame, two feet ten inches in breadth, by two feet eight in height. In the same house is another picture attributed to the same artist, three feet six inches high, by two feet eight broad. The subject must allude to the civil war, as it represents a crown, bottom upmost; sceptre, baton, royal standard, heaped near it; a printed scroll, a casket covered with crimson velvet, lid open, with necklaces and toys. At the bottom, on the right hand, is a small figure about four inches long, badly executed, of Charles I. which seems as if done with red chalk on a white ground.

Mr. Jameson died at Edinburgh in 1644, and was interred in the churchyard of the Grey Friars, but without, any monument. By his will, written witli his own hand in 1641, and breathing a spirit of much piety and benevolence, he provides kindly for his wife and children, and leaves many legacies to his relations and friends. Of his family, his daughter Mary was thrice married: first to Mr. Burnett, of EIrick, in the county of Aberdeen; afterwards to James Gregory, the celebrated mathematician; and lastly to Mr. Eddie, one of the magistrates of Aberdeen. By all these gentlemen she had children, and many of the descendants of the two first have numerous families in the county of Aberdeen. Mary seems to have inherited a portion of her father’s genius. Several specimens of her needle-work remain, particularly Jephtha’s rash vow; Susannah and the Elders, &c. probably from a design of her father’s; these now adorn the East end of St. Nicholas church, Aberdeen. | Though Jameson was little known in England, and has not been noticed by any English writer on the arts, except lord Orford, his character, as well as his works, were highly esteemed in his own country. Arthur Johnston, the poet, addressed to him an elegant Latin epigram, on the picture of the marchioness of Huntley, which may be seen in the works of that author, printed at Middleburgh in 1642. 1


Walpole’s Anecdotes. Pinkerton’s Scottish Gallery. Thorn’s History of Aberdeen. Pennant’s Tour in Scotland.