From artdaily.com. Posted on 5/2/18.
Raeburn, who was born in Edinburgh and lived from 1756 to 1823, was the leading portrait painter of his time in Scotland, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished and innovative in European art of the period. Originally apprenticed to a goldsmith, he showed enormous artistic talent as a young man. In 1784 Raeburn moved to London and he spent some time in Italy, but returned to Edinburgh in 1787, where he began painting portraits of famous and important contemporaries. He was in constant demand and received many honours, being knighted in 1822.
These highly skilled and ambitious portraits show Raeburn at the height of his artistic powers. They depict the two eldest sons of Sir William Forbes, 7th Baronet of Pitsligo in Aberdeenshire, a wealthy and influential banker, art collector and patron. The paintings were commissioned in 1809–11, when the young boys were around seven years old.