1756 – Born at Stockbridge 0n the 4th of March.
1772 – He was apprenticed to the jeweller James Gilliland but began painting water-colour miniatures of his friends.
1778 – He married a wealthy widow of independent means, whose dowry permitted him to devote himself entirely to painting.
1784 – He travelled to London where he met Sir Joshua Reynolds whose style was to exert a great influence upon him.
1787 – He returned to Edinburgh, and began a successful career as a portrait-painter. In that year he executed a seated portrait of the second Lord President Dundas.
1812 – He was elected president of the Society of Artists in Edinburgh.
1814 – Associate, and in the following year full member of the Royal Scottish Academy.
1815 – His reputation spread beyond Edinburgh and he became a member of the Royal Academy.
1822 – He was knighted by George IV and appointed His Majesty’s limner for Scotland.
1823 – He died at Edinburgh on the 8th of July.